Go Joe Bruin got the chance to interview one of the Co-Presidents of the UCLA student section, ‘The Den’. Peter Duyshart was kind enough to do an interview via email that takes us into the world of the best student section in college sports. You can follow Peter Duyshart on Twitter @TrueBruin711. You will also want to follow The Den on Twitter @uclatheden and on Facebook for any updates they have before UCLA games.
Without further ado, here is our interview with The Den!
Go Joe Bruin: After a long off-season, how good will it be to go back to the Rose Bowl?
The Den: We are all super excited to be back at the Rose Bowl. There is simply no better stadium and setting in college football. We’ve been looking forward to being back since last season ended, and there is nothing like cheering on our Bruins. Combine that with the high expectations for this season, and the home opener can’t come any faster!
GJB: Is there anything new we should expect from ‘The Den’ this year?
TD: After 11 years, we are changing The Dirt from The Den. It’ll have a new look and some new content. For those of you who don’t know what ‘The Dirt’ is, it’s a publication that we make and pass out to thousands of students; it highlights student section traditions, gives rosters, scouting reports, and most importantly, gives “dirt” on the other team (so you can imagine how fun The Dirt is for the $C game).
You can also expect a bigger Den than ever before: we are projecting record student attendance, and a bigger Den means a louder Den. Opponents, you’ve been warned.
We are also looking to increase our presence on social media more, and running in-game social media contests, such as posting the best pictures from the student section to win prizes.
In addition, The Den will be teaming up with the new ESPNU Campus Connection team to generate new, creative multimedia of the student experience at games. We are looking forward to that.
GJB: Why is ‘The Den’ the best student section in college sports?
TD: We are clever, and we remind BOTH teams who the home team is. The students here make some of the best signs, wear very innovative costumes (especially at basketball games), and, with The Dirt at their disposal, they know how to get to a player, without crossing the line of course. The Den also preserves and continues cheers and traditions that have lasted decades, including Frisbee, Roll Call, and the same taped up signs from 1977 for away team starting lineups in Pauley (Digger is a Wimp!).
GJB: What is the best experience at the Rose Bowl you have ever had with ‘The Den’?
TD: Has to be the 38-28 win over $C in 2012. ‘The Den’ student section overflowed, the Bowl was rockin’, we took it to the Trojans, and I lost my voice. It rained, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I’ll never forget that game, no doubt.
GJB: With school not yet in session, how do you accommodate for ‘The Den’ to be less full than later in the year?
TD: We are offering $10 guest tickets for students and their guests, to encourage students to come to the game with friends from their hometown. Plus, the students who make the effort to come before school is in session are the dedicated fans, so we’ll all be loud. Very loud. Memphis won’t know what hit them.
GJB: How do you organize that many students?
TD: Through tradition. When students know what to expect for cheers and heckling, it helps with unity and cohesion. And of course, cheering on the Bruins brings all UCLA students together because we take huge pride in our teams here, especially football. When you are in a packed student section at the Rose Bowl, you’re with 8,000 of your best friends.
We also of course get a ton of help with cheers and traditions from Yell Crew and the rest of the Spirit Squad, who do a very good job rallying everyone together and getting us in unison.
GJB: What is the experience like with the Solid Gold Sounds of the UCLA Marching Band next to ‘The Den’?
TD: We love sitting right next to them. One of the best parts of the college football in my opinion is having a marching band in the stadium. They bring a unique energy and help increase school spirit at the Rose Bowl. Their cadences and songs are awesome, and, of course, we always love singing Sons of Westwood and Mighty Bruins!
GJB: Any chance of getting a t-shirt from this season?
TD: I’ll see what I can do. : )
GJB: What time do you get to the game and how do you tailgate?
TD: We tailgate with the Rally Committee, and we start tailgating right when the parking lots open, 6 hours before kickoff. We always have the Victory Bell with us and walk it around the tailgates! Come find us in Lot H if you want to ring it (look for the Den banner). We usually pack up about 2 hours prior to kickoff though, to bring the bell into the stadium, help Rally Committee set up their card shows, and bring in The Dirt from The Den to pass out to students as they come through the gates.
GJB: Any other information we should know?
TD: The main mission of The Den Leadership is to promote increased spirit and attendance at ALL UCLA sporting events by unifying UCLA students through Bruin tradition. We help promote and market games to the student body and put on events that pertain to athletics, such as GolDEN Games and away game Watch Parties for the entire student body. The Den has a fantastic, dedicated Leadership Team, and all of us have a huge passion for everything UCLA.
Also, we manage very entertaining, interactive social media accounts. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to see the student fan perspective!
This will be a FANTASTIC year for UCLA Athletics, and we are stoked to be there every step of the way cheering on our Bruins!
Once again, thank you to Mr. Duyshart and The Den for taking time to give us the inside scoop on the best student section in college sports… GO BRUINS!
Tags: UCLA Bruins