Early in the month, the Berry students and faculty were invited to submit a Vikings football uniform design for the chance to have their design chosen to be the first Vikings football uniforms.
After narrowing down the choices, the new jerseys were created — a composite of the two winning designs — and they were recently unveiled to the Berry student body.
“I was in an SGA meeting when the uniforms were first presented in front of the students,” said Alex Livingston, a Berry sophomore and Student Government Association member.
“From what I could see they were received well, because such a deliberative process was undertaken to choose the design.”
Along with accomplishing the task of getting the football players something to play in next year, the contest achieved a much bigger goal: Getting Berry students excited about the inaugural football season.
The Berry students and faculty got the rare opportunity to take an active role in the new program that will make school history.
Livingston was enthused about the message that the contest sent out to Berry students and faculty.
“I think it was a huge encouragement. The process said ‘this football team is coming to blend and mesh with what is already established at Berry College,” said Livingston.
Between Nov. 8 and Nov. 20, Berry College head football coach Tony Kunczewski, along with a judging panel of four other directors and professors, narrowed the pool of 270 student and faculty submissions down to 2 — but the panel could not pick between the couple.
Kunczewski and the judges therefore decided to merge the designs of Berry senior Nicole Pearre and assistant girls soccer coach Eric Gentilello into what will be the first-ever Vikings football uniforms for the 2013 season.
Since the contest was based on design, it opened doors to even the less sports-minded members of the Viking community, not just the athletes and the Berry supporters.
“I think it was a good idea,” said Berry senior and baseball player Josh Mitchell. “They were trying to get people pumped up about (the football season) for its first year and build enthusiasm, and I think the contest got more people involved. Not everyone is the biggest sports fan, so this contest got more of the artistic people involved.”
The excitement was further extended when the students got to see the final product of the contest, which seemed to fit right in with the building enthusiasm for the new program.
The countdown to the first Vikings football season on the Berry athletics website, the naming of the new stadium and now, the contest and the students’ reaction to the new uniforms, have all helped punctuate this enthusiasm.
Mitchell added: “They were trying to find a way to get all of the students involved with the whole process, and I think they accomplished that. (The contest) let the students have an input.”