College Saturdays in the fall means football season. It means tents set up with oversized wooden greek letters, music blasting and crowds cheering. The atmosphere full of school spirit.
At the University of North Texas, not much is different. The hill on the visitor side of Apogee stadium is where the big letters and tents can be seen. This is where the main action of the pregame festivities take place.
For freshmen it means scoping out which fraternity or sorority they may want to rush, or clubs they want to join. For sophomores and upperclassmen it means reconnecting with friends they have not seen all summer. Football games at UNT are social events.
There is live music, free giveaways and fun for the whole family. It not only brings the students together, but the community as well.
Football is not the only sport in season. There is volleyball and soccer. UNT’s Women’s soccer team has an incredible record. They have one of the best records in college soccer.
It is easy to identify school spirit at sporting events. UNT has an organization called, Talons, that goes to every football home games and cheer on our team. There are superfans like “Saint Litrell” that dress in a pope costume honoring the head football coach.
“So, the pope costume comes from the play on head coach, Seth Litrell, who came in and saved our team. So we came up with Saint Litrell, and we also have a parody account on Twitter, ” said super fan, Dominic Olkewicz. “I thought it would be fun to dress up for the Halloween homecoming game, so I bought a pope costume from Party City. Then I stapled a few helmet decals I got from the UNT yard sale, and the rest is history.”
His dedication to the role of “Saint Litrell” comes from the pride he has of being Mean Green. He also knows how it feels to have a losing team. Olkewicz was a student when the football team’s record was 1-11. Winning is not everything, but it does boost confidence.
The University of North Texas has an interesting campus. If you are a current student, you may have seen the “campus Spider-Man.” There are multiple versions of Spider-Man walking the campus. Like the real hero, their identity remains a mystery.
There is also the infamous albino squirrel. This squirrel roamed freely through the campus. Students said that if you saw the albino squirrel, you would do well on your next test or assignment.
The unique aspects of the campus contribute to the sense of pride and community in the students. It adds to what is means to be Mean Green.
Students show up to these sporting events for the entertainment, sense of community, and the chance at a free t-shirt. School spirit can be defined in many different ways.
UNT is known for its competitive music program and school of liberal arts. According to Music School Central, UNT’s College of Music is one of the top 15 in the nation. Supporting the fine arts and the non-athletic events is part of being Mean Green.
Going to concerts, plays, musicals and special events shows school spirit by supporting fellow classmates.
UNT has pride
The University of North Texas makes many strives to be as inclusive as possible. There are multiple resources for LGBTQ, minority and disabled students. Creating a safe space for students is part of school spirit. There are clubs that support this diversity, such as GLAD and pride alliance.
The Pride Alliance office is located on the 3rd floor of the Student Union, room 372.
Along with these resources, is tolerance. There are students and faculty of all walks of life that roam this campus. Tolerance of other cultures and ways of life are widely accepted. This is part of being Mean Green.
UNT caters to all dietary restrictions and choices. There is an entire cafeteria dedicated to veganism, Maple hall’s “Mean Greens.” There are vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free dining choices throughout campus. This helps every student feel welcomed and appreciated, by respecting their choices and allergies.
The city of Denton has taken a stance on recycling. Recycling cans can be found around the city. UNT has adopted this mindset. There are separate bins for landfill, plastic and paper. Almost every waste can is separated this way. UNT promotes saving the environment.
There is a “Wednesday Preacher” that comes every Wednesday to open dialogue about christianity. Many students will engage in his conversation about christianity. They do so without being entirely negative, they want their opinions and views to be heard. This further promotes the inclusiveness of UNT’s campus.
The dynamics of the classroom is important at any university. The professors at UNT strive for open dialogue and inclusivity. They want their students to be excited and engaged in their education.
By building community, UNT creates an atmosphere of school spirit all across campus. “The UNT atmosphere has definitely changed in my time being here. It used to be a small enthusiastic group among a sea of empty seats, and now every time we play at home there is just a gigantic sea of green,” said Olkewicz. “To me being part of this paradigm shift makes it even more special and becoming close to players through the character is amazing. I love the Mean Green family, and I know it loves me.”
“Mean” Joe Green
The “Mean Green” was not always the nickname that identified UNT. Before the late 60s, UNT were the eagles. Scrappy the eagle is still the official mascot, but now UNT is the home of the Mean Green.
This began when Charles “Joe” Greene, or “Mean” Joe Greene, played football from 1966-1968. A chant was started during one of the games, and from then on he was “Mean” Joe Greene. He was drafted to the Pittsburgh Steelers, and North Texas kept up the “Mean Green” spirit. They were proud of their alumnus and liked the nickname.
According to the North Texan, after the chant began and fans loved it, the university did not waste time on making it into merchandise. The rest is history.