The Paw Points program goal of motivating students to attend sporting events has largely been taken over by the Mercer Maniacs — and because of that, Paw Points are going away.
“Everything that Paw Points would be doing, Mercer Maniacs pretty much does,” said John Morris, the Chairman of the Paw Points Committee.
Originally, Paw Points was designed to increase school spirit and motivate students to go to Mercer athletics events by marketing for the games, awarding students points for every game or match they attended.
“We needed it, initially, because people weren’t going to games and stuff. But as the Mercer teams have gotten better, more competitive, we don’t need the incentives because people just wanna go just to be there, you know?” Morris said.
Paw Points tracked the events that students attended, and the more events you went to, the greater your chance of winning priority tickets or a big prize at the end of the year.
However, the point system was complicated. Certain games were worth certain amounts, there were different awards for different kinds of events, and there were technical difficulties with keeping up with individual points. As a result, the program transitioned to more of the event raffles.
“Honestly, I don’t think doing that at all was effective,” Morris said. “It gave a person one prize. It didn’t really help the student body as a whole at all.”
Also, as the Mercer teams have gotten better, students haven’t needed a reason to go watch sporting events. And, when that drive does seem to be dwindling, there is now a student-led organization devoted primarily to building up that spirit: the Mercer Maniacs.
The Maniacs work to increase spirit by not only painting up, making signs, and leading cheers, but also by providing students in attendance with incentives like free t-shirts and even tickets to some away games.
“When I stepped back and looked at the whole committee … [and] went to the Mercer Maniac’s meeting and saw what they were doing, I pretty much saw that what we were doing wasn’t helping the student body,” Morris said.
Because of that, he said, they’ve decided to reallocate the funds that would be used for Paw Points to be used in other ways by SGA, such as conference and lodging requests, in addition to changing the SGA legislation to reflect the dissolution of the Paw Points committee.
“It’s another student group taking the [initiative] to do something to better the school.” Morris said.