You don’t typically see brown-bag lunches at Colorado State University’s Moby Arena during basketball games but, on the inaugural PSD Day at CSU, they were everywhere.
More than 1,500 fourth- and fifth-graders from a dozen PSD elementary schools cranked up Moby’s usual decibel and energy levels as the CSU women’s basketball team defeated Northern Arizona 65-54 on Dec. 5.
Students enjoyed the free collegiate sports event thanks to a decades-long vibrant relationship between PSD and CSU, formalized with a spring 2018 signing of an agreement of mutual support that outlined the ways in which the two institutions work together to support the region’s students.
“I loved the seats we had, they were AWESOME. I also love basketball so this was a dream come true for me,” one student wrote after in a thank you note to the more than 30 CSU staff members who volunteered their time to make the experience fun and safe for all.
Kids cried out in delight as CAM the Ram cruised along the court on a scooter, pyrotechnic flames shot from basketball hoops, and as they caught sight of themselves on the jumbotron. These were experiences that, for some, were as new as stepping foot onto a university campus. Equally as big were smiles on the faces of adult ticket holders who cheered on the Rams next to their smaller counterparts.
Students, teachers and chaperones made their way to campus by foot, school or MAX bus. They then got a video welcome from women’s basketball head coach Ryun Williams who, after the game, credited the Rams’ success in part to the students’ presence.
“They provided a really energetic fun environment that our kids fed off of,” he said.
I think those kids had a blast, and I think they got to see good sportsmanship. They saw young ladies out there having fun. You know, a lot of enthusiasm, encouraging each other. And hopefully they want to become that.”
Irish Elementary School teacher Ashlyn Patton’s name was drawn from a hat to participate in a trivia contest, and she successfully answered three green-and-gold-inspired questions to win $1,000 for Irish.
PSD’s Partnership Office and CSU Athletics & Visitor Services will continue to strengthen existing joint programs, as well as create new partnership events and opportunities for students, families and PSD staff. The second annual PSD Day at a CSU women’s basketball game is planned for next fall with the goal of growing school participation by 50 percent.