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Friday, Nov 26, 2021

PAW Points plans to get bigger and better

For the past two years, SGA and the athletic department have worked closely together to increase student attendance at Mercer University sporting events. With the creation of the PAW Points program, the presence of the student body at these events has increased significantly. The program gives students a certain amount of points for attending athletic events and they are able to receive rewards from those points.

Amidst the addition of football, Mercer athletics have risen to a whole new level and the PAW Points program plans to grow with the university and its athletics.

“Mercer Athletics has exploded in the past few years largely due to the creation of the football team and the tremendous success of our basketball team. The purpose of PAW Points is to bring students to all games. PAW Points are offered at most sporting events from soccer to softball to encourage participation in supporting all of our great student athletes,” said SGA president, Joey Wozniak.

With this growth, SGA is planning to advance the program even further. The association is striving for a rise in attendance at a wider range of athletics events.

“This year, we hope to offer PAW Points at more types of sporting events and offer more prizes. We fully expect to propel the tremendous growth of participation by warmly welcoming the largest freshmen class Mercer has ever had,” said Wozniak.

To make sure the program continues to be successful, Wozniak and SGA have decided to team up with other Mercer organizations that are involved in athletics.

“This year, SGA, the Mercer Maniacs and the athletics department will be working closely with each other to ensure the visibility and growth of the program to all students,” said Wozniak.

“I think this new partnership could lead to the ultimate sustainability of the PAW Points program. This partnership is key in developing an evolving program that brings visibility to our sporting events and increased participation from our students as well as more prizes.”

Because Mercer Maniacs has become so popular among the student body, especially in the last year, SGA believes that their participation with the PAW Points program can be tremendously effective. Blaze Jeffrey, president of Mercer Maniacs, never had any intention of the group becoming so sizable and popular.

“The Maniacs started off as a bunch of guys who just wanted to be crazy at games and show their support for Mercer sports. They would throw things together at the last second and never had any sort of formal organization. The Maniacs are still all about showing up dressed up crazy and giving all of our support to the bears, but we have grown from just a handful of people to almost the entire campus,” said Jeffrey. “We are more organized, can plan unique ways to show support for the Bears, know how to include everybody and every sport on campus and we have the ability to become a nationally recognized fan base.”

Jeffrey and Melina Hettiaratchi, chairman of the PAW Points program, trust that this new partnership will prove to be successful. Hettiaratchi truly believes that including the Mercer Maniacs in the PAW Points program will increase student attendance at games other than football and basketball.

“We may have more of a bandwagon fan problem after the win over Duke when basketball season rolls around, but I like to think our Mercer students will get behind the team and use that excitement we have seen since that day with all of our sports. It’s not just about more students at basketball and football,” said Hettiaratchi. “We had fifteen of our sixteen teams make it to the conference tournament. That’s just outrageous, and those athletes deserve more of our support. Speaking of, see you at the soccer game on the 22 versus Oglethorpe to kick off the year.”


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