Whit City brings new life to student section


Whit City cheering from the bleachers. Photo contributed by Tim Howell.

Grant Laco, Staff Reporter

Whit City cheering from the bleachers. Photo contributed by Tim Howell.
Whit City cheering from the bleachers. Photo contributed by Tim Howell.

When sophomores Max Hanson and Tim Howell met at a volleyball game last year, they both shared a concern.

“People were at the game, but some people weren’t really paying attention, a lot of people were on their phones, not even into the game,” said Howell. “It was literally just Max and [maybe] three or four of his friends, and they were trying to get chants going.”

Hanson told a story similar to Tim’s.

“He was totally for it, too,” Hanson said. “So we exchanged numbers, and that’s kind of how we got to know each other.”

That’s where the idea for a Whitman student section came from: a mutual desire between two friends to bring more active support to Whitman sporting events.

“A student section was something that I saw more and more as something that I really wanted to make happen… as I started going to basketball games and saw people who were there, but they weren’t really paying attention… But you know what, it’s fun to be the fans, let’s be the fans, and show our active support,” Hanson said.

Howell’s enthusiasm for the idea comes from his own personal experience with the power of an active student section. He had helped to start a student section back in high school, where he experienced what it was like to have an enthusiastic crowd as an athlete during his time as a four-year varsity basketball player.

“Everyone would come to the games, and have chants, and support all the athletic teams…I think it’s a really good way to get a school together and connected,” he said.

The effort has received positive attention. Hannah Linsenmayer, a senior and captain on the volleyball team, voiced her appreciation.

“Whit City has created great attendance at all of our home games so far, and it has been so much fun! Varsity athletes across the board put a lot of work and time into their sports, so it’s really inspiring and rewarding to see fellow students leading the way to support one another through athletics. After experiencing how great having Whit City is on the sidelines, I’m very excited for my last year to go out and support all of our other Whitman athletics to return the favor,” Linsenmayer said.

Whit City does not intend to fizzle out anytime soon. The vision for Whit City extends well into the future.

“This isn’t just for us, this is for the school,” Hanson and Howell both said.

Their end goal is a culture shift. They hope Whit City will move every student to show support at all sporting events, not just the ones in which his or her close friends are participating. Whit City believes that every Whitman student should be excited to go and cheer for fellow Whitties at sporting events.

“Whatever you’re into, everyone can come support each other,” said Howell.

Their biggest success so far was the first volleyball game of the year. They had free burgers and hot dogs out on the lawn by the Harper Joy Theatre, with lawn games and everything. After the tailgate, they all rolled out to the volleyball game together. Whit City leaders funded the entire event out-of-pocket. Currently, Whit City is seeking ASWC funding for similar events.

“More events like that would be really helpful towards what we’ve envisioned,” Hanson said. “We also want to get more merchandise. More shirts, for themes and events.”

They are not trying to make a profit, however, and make it clear that any and all merchandise sold by Whit City would be at the bare minimum price.

“The main thing is just getting people to at the games and supporting one another… We aren’t at all trying to make any sort of profit,” said Hanson.

Though the effects have been tangible, Howell and Hanson feel as though Whit City still has room to grow.

“It’s definitely going to be a process,” said Hanson.

Howell agreed.

“Anything good takes time, so we’re just going to keep moving along with this. It takes patience,” he said.

This new club has taken the Whitman stands by storm already. If you like the idea of more student cohesion and supporting your fellow Whitties in a positive and fun way, you can “like” WhitCity on Facebook, learn a few of the cheers and show up to the next home game with some friends.