Perfect attendance isn’t just for bragging rights anymore − for one University of Delaware student, it’s going to mean money, too.
The University of Delaware athletics department has unveiled the Cockpit HENergy Challenge, a new high-stakes contest to incentivize football game attendance. At the end of the season, one UD student who attended all six home football games will be randomly chosen to win $10,000 in financial aid.
“Student engagement is really important to us and it’s important to the program, in terms of the support and stance and making that atmosphere on gameday feel really positive, not just for the team, but for the students as well,” said Nick LaMarca, who oversees marketing and engagement for the UD athletics department.
LaMarca said the department chose to give out financial aid as the prize after “thinking about what’s important to the students.” He said the money comes from the athletics department specifically, not the university overall.
To win the competition, UD students must scan their student football tickets before halftime at every home game. Students who participate in the games — including players, marching band members and people in the UD spirit program — are not eligible.
The financial aid awarded will depend on the need of the student randomly chosen at the end of the challenge, according to the university. It may be applied toward tuition, room and board or dining. Even if the winner does not have any financial need, LaMarca said they will “not necessarily” be awarded less.
LaMarca said he did not know whether the athletics department has funded similar incentives in the past. There is no firm decision yet on whether the challenge will repeat in future years.
The university saw a “great turnout” at the Blue Hens’ home opener on Saturday, LaMarca said. And while he believes the Cockpit HENergy Challenge was a factor driving student attendance, it’s not the only one.
“We’ve invested in the student experience at football in a lot of different ways,” LaMarca said. “This is just one element of that.”
Send story tips or ideas to Hannah Edelman at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more reporting, follow them on Twitter at @h_edelman.