Head to any Green Bay women’s basketball game at the Kress Events Center and you can’t help but be highly entertained and energized by a student group known as the Green Bandana Brigade (GBB). The GBB get their green (bandanas) on, to show their support for the basketball team and to fire-up the student section.
Ashley Baker, Heather Sanderson, Kelli Hutchinson, Marissa Michalkiewicz, and Alyssa Johnson came to UW-Green Bay from large high schools known for their school spirit. As Phoenix athletes themselves — they are members of the Green Bay softball team — they believe an energized crowd can boost performance and motivate players. They also hope to improve the notoriety of the women’s basketball team among their fellow UWGB students.
“I just believe that a team that is as good as this one deserves to be noticed, appreciated and supported, and that’s what the GBB does,” says Johnson.
Members also believe they can be an agent for change.
“We’re seeing and being a part of change happening at UWGB,” Baker says. “Not only is the atmosphere changing at sporting events, but also the atmosphere and interaction among the student athletes and students. It’s amazing what can happen with a simple idea. Nothing is impossible.”
The green bandanas, which they adopted on a holiday shopping spree, are a staple for the games. These Phoenix fashionadas also support other game promotions, wearing blue shirts for the Special Olympics, pink for breast cancer awareness, hearts and team numbers for Valentine’s Day, and a “white-out” the day after winter break.
While the GBB has started out small, that certainly isn’t the case any longer. Friends from Residence Life and other athletic teams (noticeably swimming and diving athletes and Nordic skiers) have joined in the fun. The timing for growth couldn’t be better, as the Phoenix has risen to No. 20 in the polls with an NCAA Tournament berth on the horizon.
Story and photos by Tayler Zajac, marketing intern, Marketing and University Communication