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Star sticks boost spirit, promote service

October 22, 2013



Starts-attendeeAttendees at future Stephens College sporting events might notice an influx of stars around the court.
That’s because students in Suzanne Sharp’s First Year Experience class are making new star spirit sticks to support the teams. Fans are asked to wave the sticks from the benches to cheer on the Stephens Stars.
Creating the spirit sticks is part of a service component embedded within the FYE initiative, which launched this fall as a way to help students better understand how their academic studies relate to life outside of school. Some classes are writing letters to service members, others are volunteering around the community. In addition to creating spirit sticks, Sharp’s class also plans to write letters to area residents battling cancer.
Sharp, vice president of strategic enrollment management, is co-teaching the class of honors-level students alongside Rose Obunaga, head volleyball coach. Earlier this year, Sharp invited her students to join her for a volleyball game, where she handed out homemade star spirit sticks to boost excitement. 
“They were kind of a hit,” Sharp said.
Students in the class decided to create additional sticks as part of a service project. They also created pink stars and signs to support Spike for the Cure, the “pink out” volleyball game scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday in Silverthorne Arena. 
“This lets us not only show support for our teacher but also express support for those battling breast cancer,” freshman Jess Heinle said.
Stephens officially adopted the star mascot when the College reinstated athletic programs in the early 1990s, but the star has been associated with sports at Stephens since at least 1927.
“In Stephens, athletics play a very important part in the life of every student because the activities are planned to benefit the mass, instead of the individual ‘stars,’” according to the Stephensophia yearbook from that year. Yearbooks from the 1940s also show the “Stars” being used as a nickname associated with athletics.

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