STATEside at MVC: Section N cheers on Redbirds

<i>STATEside</i> at MVC: Section N cheers on Redbirds

Jenny Ward, Jenifer Patton, and Linda Cooper show their Redbird spirit at the MVC Women's Basketball Tournament.

Jenny Ward, Jenifer Patton, and Linda Cooper show their Redbird spirit at the MVC Women’s Basketball Tournament.

You’ve heard of calling dibs on specific seats, but how about an entire section?

The Mennonite College of Nursing has unofficially designated the section behind the Redbirds at home games, Section N, as the section for nurses.

“A group of us had been attending home games and closer away games,” said Linda Cooper, M.S. ’99, MCN Alumni Association past president. “Dean Janet Krejci kicked it up another notch.”

Now Section N for Nursing has become known for thunderous stomping, raucous cheering, and the dean’s signature whistle. Through their partnership with Athletics, the MCN Alumni Association Board and Krejci have brought even more students, alumni, and friends of the college into the fan experience through a healthcare professional night and the Pink Game, which celebrates survivors of breast cancer and raises funds for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.

“The event has grown a lot,” said Jenifer Patton ’04, president of the MCN Alumni Association. “The reception we hold before the game started as just 30 people. Now we have almost 150 attending. It’s a way to raise money to support a good cause.”

During half time a ceremony is held to recognize those who have battled with cancer.

“A number of faculty and students have had breast cancer, so the game and ceremony have a special connection for them,” said Jenny Ward, director of Development for MCN.

All of these efforts have created a spirit of camaraderie throughout the college and have helped to tie students and alumni to MCN.

“We’re trying to upgrade our alumni network,” Cooper said. “That network is critical to the future of our students.”

“Anything we can do to work with people on a personal basis is good,” said Ward. “It allows us to help them find jobs, clinical sites, and the resources students need when they graduate.”

Section N has traveled to St. Charles to show the team their support during the MVC Women’s Basketball Tournament, bringing the stomps, whistles, and signs that the Redbirds have come to expect from their fans during home games.

“We are expecting to see really tough, hard-fought games,” said Cooper. “We’ll be on the edge of our seats screaming and stomping.”

STATEside is reporting from the MVC tournament for as long the Redbirds are playing. Follow all the action on Illinois State Athletics’ Tournament Central page or here on STATEside.

Steven Barcus can be reached at srbarcu@IllinoisState.edu.