Director of Athletics Martin Jarmond hosted the first student P.A.C.E (Passion. Attendance. Collaboration. Experience.) event on Tuesday night in Fulton 511. Out of the 100 students that signed up, around 50 of them showed up. The event served as an open forum in which Jarmond could gather input from students on how to improve support and engagement at Boston College Athletics events. Jarmond also touched on the progress of the Greater Heights athletics capital campaign that was launched this past fall.
When asked about the status of the Greater Heights campaign and how he planned to allocate those funds—especially with programs like the lacrosse team utilizing lower-quality facilities—Jarmond delivered a lengthy response.
The 5-year, $150 million campaign has already raised $64 million, according to Jarmond. Where the funds are allocated is up to the desires of the specific donors.
“Just because we don’t have a better facility in Newton doesn’t mean it’s not important,” Jarmond said, referring to the facility used by the lacrosse, soccer, and field hockey teams.
“We’re the only ACC school that doesn’t have a basketball practice facility, and I would argue that is even more important. That’s a revenue-generating sport that helps women’s soccer, that helps rowing. We have a lot of needs. I got here two years ago, and this doesn’t happen overnight.”
Jarmond cited many other programs that need more funding, as well. He expressed his desire for the basketball program to improve, while also continuing to invest in both football and baseball after their facilities upgrades—the Fish Field House and Harrington Athletics Village, respectively. Jarmond pointed out that new women’s soccer head coach Jason Lowe wants to continue developing after the team’s impressive regular season last year.
Jarmond stated that he wants to succeed, win, and see his students graduate. But accomplishing all of those goals is tough—especially with bigger and more well-equipped ACC schools trying to do the same thing.
“So the reality is, and again I get passionate about this because people don’t understand,” Jarmond said, “it’s like you got $100, and you got $300 that you need.
“I met with Steve Addazio today. I love Steve. Steve had a list of stuff. I’m like Steve, ‘That can’t happen. That can’t happen. I’ll try that.’ It’s difficult for me to fundraise. There’s no magic bullet … there’s no quick fix, easy shortcut. If there was, I think I’m a creative-enough guy, I’m not the smartest guy, but I know how to work with people.”
Many of the ideas proposed by students dealt with social media, incentives, and the general publicization of BC Athletics events.
One idea that Jarmond was particularly fond of was the formation of a spirit group. This group would constitute passionate fans that could rally their fellow classmates and receive support from the administration.
“I love this idea,” Jarmond said. “We might need to talk more about that.”
Following an extensive discussion and a poll from Jarmond, students came to the conclusion that apparel—whether it be t-shirts, hats, or other gear—was the best incentive for attendance, but they differed on when to give it out.
Students came up with different ideas on how to distribute the apparel, with some saying to hand it out at the beginning of the game, in the middle after halftime, or at the end of the contest.
Marc Occhipinti, Heights staffer and CSOM ’21, brought up the Gold Pass, the $199 ticket that allows BC students to access all regular season home games. He expressed that students who accumulate more points should get access to special perks, such as being able to participate in activities on the court, field, or ice in the middle of breaks.
Jarmond then shifted the conversation. He pointed out that the students in the room regularly attend BC sporting events, but he posed the question of how to get non-spirited classmates out to these games.
A sophomore in the crowd stated that the results come from the energy.
“I have a lot of friends who are athletes,” he said. “They’ll say it’s kind of hurtful to run onto the field after the half and see the stands empty.”
He articulated the importance of the students relating to the athletes. As more students added on, this could be accomplished through athlete takeovers on Instagram and Snapchat stories, as well as having them participate in activities with non-student athletes.
The changing of the Superfan shirt was also cited as a potential improvement to the level of interest in BC Athletics events. Students in the room unanimously agreed that they disliked the bright gold color that currently adorns the Superfan shirt. Jarmond hinted at trying a test-run of a maroon color and perhaps shifting to that in two years.
In regard to social media, Young Kim, MCAS ’21, relayed his experience working in the BC Athletics communications office. Kim said it had become apparent to him that a university like BC did not have the same resources as larger ACC schools.
“So I work in athletics, we have only one student that works there,” he said. “There needs to be 10 of me.”
Another student proposed a suggestion that would allow the Athletics communications office to be properly staffed. Job offerings in the office could be included in emails to students in the English and communications departments.
At the conclusion of the event, Jarmond encouraged students to seek out opinions from their fellow peers and to contact his office with further suggestions.
Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Senior Staff