Colonial Army president Frank Dale returned to campus looking forward to basketball season and the front section Smith Center seats his three-year-old spirit organization has always received for home games.
Instead, Dale, a junior, came to Foggy Bottom and learned that the future of the organization he leads is up in the air. University officials have been mulling whether Colonial Army will receive early access to games and Director of Athletics Jack Kvancz said Monday that the group will likely not have those seating privileges this year.
Both Kvancz and Robert Chernak, senior vice president for Student and Academic Support Services, have said they do not think students should be able to pay for early access to men’s basketball games through a student organization. Kvancz said the group will definitely not have its same privileges this year.
Now the organization, which had upwards of 1,000 members last year, is struggling with its future.
Five leaders of the group met Tuesday night to discuss its future and confusion about discussions between the Army’s leadership and University officials.
“It’s frustrating to know that, as a student organization, there couldn’t be better communication,” said junior Adam Cohen, the Colonial Army’s marketing director. “Our attitudes have been pretty upbeat. We look at it as, ‘Where can we go from here?’ It’s not ‘screw the school.'”
The executive board said they are adamant that the organization is not dead. Since the group will likely no longer be restricted by the number of seats it is given by the athletic department, it can offer as many memberships at whatever price it would like.
Dale said he is not looking to turn a profit from membership and the possibility of landing corporate sponsors is being explored.
“My goal is to make becoming a member as easy as possible,” Cohen said.
The Colonial Army is not going to use TicketMaster to sell membership, Dale said, but does not yet know how the memberships will be handed out.
On Sept. 19, the Colonial Army sent out a press release stating the status of the group and how it plans to proceed. “The question for us is not if, but how we are going to respond,” the release stated.
The release said one of the top priorities is encouraging the University to bring back Colonials Invasion, which the officials canceled this year in the wake of a about $900,000 in budget cuts to Student and Academic Support Services. Colonials Invasion is the GW’s version of Midnight Madness, a pep event that introduces the beginning of basketball season.
Overall, the main goal of the Colonial Army has not changed.
“The whole idea of the Colonial Army is to give students something to unite by,” said graduate student Kathryn Santo, the Colonial Army’s Webmaster. “Basketball brings students together. You can go knowing that there are students just like you.”
Dale said after three years of existence, they feel an obligation to its members and the student body. Dale is the only president of the organization after former co-president JuDonn DeShields stepped down for reasons unrelated to the organization’s recent shakeups.
“We owe it to the students to act as a voice to the administration, to the spirit department,” Dale said. “Our members are important and the students are important.”