|Amie Hansen (in the middle) cheers on the Panther football team with fellow students during the EIU’s Homecoming Game.|
It’s more than her blue bandana and Panther attire that sets Amie Hansen apart.
She’s not only revived the Blue Crew, the student-cheering group, but she’s steadfast in her Panther spirit.
The junior special education major and Lake Zurich native recreated the crew last year at Eastern Illinois University after a previous spirit group disbanded two years ago. Hansen’s group has more than 200 members, and now is a registered student organization.
At home games, these students cheer on football players in the stands of O’Brien Stadium, with only one rule — they have to stand, Hansen said. They chant, yell and stir on the team, but the group doesn’t only focus on football.
This year, the group cheered on the women’s rugby team, women’s and men’s soccer teams and the water polo club. “We support all athletes,” Hansen said. To Hansen, it’s important to support EIU athletes who get up early to work out, practice and still get good grades.
Hansen’s not afraid to spread her Blue Crew energy to prospective students as she works as an EIU admissions tour guide. And, her energy gets results.
Trevor Bradley, a junior sociology major and Charleston native, remembered Hansen’s energy and zest when she was his tour guide before he transferred to EIU. “She’s got energy alright,” said Bradley, reminiscing.
Because of Hansen’s encouragement, Bradley, said she helped make his decision to come to EIU and now cheers in the O’Brien Stadium with the rest of the crew.
In her tour guide sessions, she always emphasizes Blue Crew. “Blue Crew’s not a huge time commitment,” Hansen said. “The crew is a perfect opportunity to meet fellow students.”
Bradley is not alone with other students who were persuaded to attend EIU because of Hansen’s energy. Some football players and parents of athletes also make a point to thank Blue Crew members and Hansen for cheering on their teams.
Hansen got the idea to form the crew, after watching football games as a member of EIU’s Color Guard. She realized that O’Brien Stadium needed a student section to support the team, and began to create the registered student organization, modeled after cheering sections in the past.
In her spare time, Hansen serves as the president elect for the Student Council for Exceptional Children, a member of two honor fraternities and a peer mentor in the EIU’s University Foundation class. In the foundation class, Hansen drums up school spirit and encourages freshmen to get involved in Blue Crew.
To Hansen, a ‘real’ Panther is someone who is dedicated to their studies, but they are true to themselves, their community and values.
After earning her degree, Hansen plans to work as a high school teacher where she would love to advise a color guard or spirit group.
“When you are part of a school you should be engulfed in the culture,” Hansen said. “You should be passionate about the school you go to. And, I definitely am.”
The Blue Crew starts every home game day out by chanting with the Panther Marching Band in the Library Quad before the home games.