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UI Hawks Nest

Spirit and Sportsmanship

Spirit and Sportsmanship

Hawks Nest is a student organization on campus focused on establishing the best organized student fan section in the Big Ten Conference. A well-organized student section enhances the atmosphere at games for all attendees from students to the general fan base. In the 2012-2013 academic year, Hawks Nest unveiled brand new membership benefits for students.

The new benefits for students included early access to Hawkapalooza and bus trip tickets to Hawkeye away games. Having membership opportunities allows Hawks Nest to become a greater solidified community of students, and provides students an opportunity to voice their opinions on what they want to see at sporting events and what Hawks Nest should focus on.

“Hawks Nest is all-encompassing,” says Lynn Rider, senior at the UI and Hawks Nest executive board member. “We’re really unique in the Big Ten in that we cover all sports from field hockey to football.”

Having students present at games contributes to the atmosphere as well as brings a youthfulness to the spirit of the game.

Since 2009, Hawks Nest has contributed to UI’s reputation for conduct, fairness, and school pride. To help solidify its purpose on campus, Hawks Nest student members agreed to the Big Ten Sportsmanship Agreement in 2011. The agreement acts as a constitution for Hawks Nest and directs student members to create a respectful and fun environment for all fans. It encourages students to be respectful no matter what colors students are wearing, and to understand and respect the history, traditions, and culture of all universities.

“We really want to promote that sense of community of going out to a game,” says Michael Venzon, Assistant Director for Student Disability Services and Hawks Nest advisor. “It’s a bit of a culture change.”

In past sporting events, there wasn't always a large student section to support the Hawkeyes. Hawks Nest worked with coaches from various teams as well as other groups to get the attendance up along with adding membership benefits. Having students present at games contributes to the atmosphere as well as brings a youthfulness to the spirit of the game. Improving the spirit and sportsmanship of the game are keys to bringing life to Hawkeye games.

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“It changes the whole environment for the student athletes,” says Venzon. “When students get engaged [at games] it freshens things up.”

In the upcoming year, the Hawks Nest board is working to increase membership benefits for students and finding new ways to carry on Hawkeye traditions at sporting events.

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