Students hear them before they see them. Decked out in the latest game day theme, the MSU Herd brings the school spirit to every Minnesota State University, Mankato sporting event.
The Herd began in the fall of 2019. Back then, student attendance at football games was sparse. While they hoped to build their numbers, the pandemic’s arrival diminished The Herd’s numbers. But when things began opening up, The Herd began to grow. President Lauren Letnes said The Herd’s main goal for this year is establishing The Herd’s presence at games.
“We want to build our membership and make it bigger rather than the more secluded student section. We want to let people and the campus community know who we are,” Letnes said.
Vice President Jaegar Cossette says students should get involved with The Herd to create an inclusive culture for sporting events.
“I want [The Herd] to be people that you know down in the student section, everyone’s cheering towards one goal and everyone’s super friendly. At a school like this where our sports are so good and we’re placing top five or 10 in the nation, it should almost be mandatory that we have an outstanding student section,” Cossette said.
With 27 current members, The Herd is also looking to recruit new members and designate certain people for specific sporting events in order to create a legacy.
“We want to serve as a community for the people who don’t always get recognition. For example, when was the last time you heard of a student section at swim meets? I think it’s a big thing for us that we’d like to do at sports games and how we can participate in doing that with the school which I think is super cool,” Cossette said.
At almost every game, The Herd designates a specific theme for the game. In years past, themes have ranged from wearing MSU colors to Halloween costumes to keeping it classy by wearing formal outfits to the game. Cossette and Letnes said keeping the game themes fresh and interesting brings people out to the games.
“Obviously it’s fun to go out and wear school colors and all that, but it’s also super fun to go out to Party City and get an all green theme. I think keeping it original, new and fun is a big thing,” Cossette said.
“Themes also get people to go to games that they necessarily wouldn’t be excited about. Nobody knows about Bowling Green, but if we put a theme in there, people get a little bit more excited about the night,” Letnes said.
Herd-wrustler Carson Louis said that being involved with The Herd gives students an opportunity to get loud and proud about MSU.
“[The Herd] is for people who want to go to the games but feel like they don’t have anyone to go with. We’re that fail-safe. Just come up and hang out with The Herd,” Louis said.
Just like athletes, The Herd has a typical routine for game day. For football games, the group gets together before the game to tailgate and recruit potential members.
“We’ll get together before and tell students about what our group does and then half an hour before the game starts, we’ll make our way to the front row and start talking to people and see if everyone’s getting excited. Throughout the game, we lead different chants,” Louis said.
The chants are what the student section is known for in getting the crowd and players motivated.
“My favorite chant is when the Mavericks go on the powerplay and we do the sex chant. We spell out sex and then ‘score score score, shoot to score, score to win, win to get laid.’ That’s a mainstay at hockey games,” Louis said.
Game day can bring students together for the sake of showing school spirit and The Herd tries to do just that by uniting the student body. The Herd wants students to come down, say hi and share any ideas with them this year.
“People like to have fun, but they don’t like to escape their comfort zone. Hopefully, when [students] see us, it makes them feel more comfortable to get out there and go have some fun,” Louis said.
For students who want to become involved with The Herd, students can either attend their meetings every other Thursday at 5 pm in CSU 201 or message them on Instagram at msu_theherd.
Header Photo: MSU Herd members Cameron Jahns and Carson Louis hype up the crowd and players at the football game against the Duluth Bulldogs. (Dylan Engel/The Reporter)
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