The National Collegiate Student Section Association named the University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO) the champion of the "Loud and Proud Best Student Section of the Year" competition.
This year's competition began on March 14, with the announcement of the Sweet Sixteen finalists. Among those were the University of Nebraska Lincoln (UNL) and UNO. Both Nebraska schools collected sufficient votes to make the Final Four, and eventually the Final Two round to identify the champion.
UNO and UNL were neck and neck to the very end, but UNO came out on top.
"I am completely overwhelmed with the support from the UNO community," said Bill Pickett, director of Student Involvement at UNO. "We saw the opportunity to be recognized for our strong commitment to supporting athletics, and immediately began spreading the word. It was truly an all hands on deck, grassroots approach."
The Maverick Maniacs, UNO Alumni Association, and other campus partners contributed to rounding up voters with tactics including social media campaigns and email blasts. The Office of Student Involvement even handed out flyers around campus with the link to vote.
"We worked really hard to spread the word about why the vote is important and what it means for UNO," said junior Paige Perry. "We shared our own UNO experiences in class and on social media to explain to the community what it means to be a Maverick."
There's definitely something in the water in Maverickland, and it seems to be paying off.
Just a few years ago, UNO was competing as a Division II school. Since then, the Mavs have gone toe to toe with some of the top athletic programs in the country. Baxter Arena opened, the hockey team made it to the Frozen Four, and men’s basketball was just inches away from representing UNO in March Madness.
The fact that the title was between two University of Nebraska schools speaks to the sense of community and passion Nebraska students have for their universities.
"We finally have something to say is ours, coming from where we started when we entered Division I," said freshman Seamus Monaghan. "The title is great, but it's sharing UNO's growth and pride that makes this a real honor."
The National Collegiate Student Section Association (NCSSA) is an organization focused on enhancing and improving the collegiate student fan experience across the nation. It is our goal to bring student section leaders together to collaborate and build a stronger collegiate atmosphere while utilizing integrity and sportsmanship.
The NCSSA annual #LoudAndProud competition is hosted to determine which school is the Student Section of the Year, based on voting. The University of Arizona won the inaugural competition in 2015 and the University of Florida won in 2016. With over 40,000 votes submitted last year, the NCSSA is excited for the continued growth of this national competition.
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