By Andrew Kriz
While the ozone layer is gradually being depleted on Earth, the “O-zone” layer at Olivet has never been stronger.
Women’s Sports Information Director and assistant softball coach Amanda Jensen designed the “O-zone” program to curb the low attendance at home games and draw pride to Olivet through sports.
Jensen made a decision to start her program with no funding from Olivet. Throughout the entire program this year she has operated from her own budget.
Taking that chance worked.
In the past, Olivet sports drew small crowds at home games, even when the teams performed well.
All of that changed after “O-zone” was released, and fan attendance has never been higher, according to Jensen.
The benefits “O-zone” gave this year to each buyer included coupons, gift card drawings, giveaways, and eligibility for skill contests at games to name a few.
Jensen made the program so that students and community members could rally around ONU athletics and the Tigers.
“I wanted to create this for students, the staff, and the community members so they can be a part of the University and have a deeper connection with Olivet,” she said.
During the men’s and women’s basketball season, McHie Arena was consistently packed with cheering fans and community members, many of whom were sporting “O-zone” shirts.
“O-zone” members also added fan buses during the volleyball and soccer seasons to follow the teams at away games, Jensen said.
Even University President Dr. John Bowling made a few appearances during the basketball season, coming to McHie with an “O-zone” T-shirt over his suit.
Jensen said support has been tremendous for her program.
“I have had coaches and players from every sport share their appreciation for O-zone,” she said. “They say the fans really affect the momentum of the game.”
Jensen said she has received many e-mails from players as well who have thanked her for helping draw in a crowd.
The energy for “O-zone” is apparent and Jensen said she plans to bring the program back next semester with an even broader purpose.
Jensen is currently working on spreading “O-zone” to other ONU events next semester, such as concerts, art shows and others.
“The ties O-zone has started are great to see and we can expand off of it. It has created a social event for our students and it has brought the community to Olivet through our sports.”