Underused Underpass space to see renewed use from WUSTL athletics

John Lin | Contributing Reporter

For the past few semesters, the southeast wall of the Underpass facing the South 40 has been left largely blank, but it may see renewed use by the athletics department.

While this space was originally reserved for athletics by Student Union, changes within Red Alert, the University’s student-run sports fan group, has resulted in the spot being forgotten for the past year.

According to Michael Land, vice president of public relations for SU, no one has approached him for the space. Although the blank Underpass spot does not seem to be stirring up too large a commotion, leaving premier wall space blank is still an issue.

“The Underpass was redone during the summer of 2012. [Congress of the South 40] and Red Alert [who had spaces reserved before the reconstruction] were both approached and asked if they wanted their space again. CS40 responded, but Red Alert never really got back,” he said. “Last school year, CS40 asked if they could use Red Alert’s space and were told that they could since athletics wasn’t really using it.”

“Unless athletics steps in and say that they want it, CS40 pretty much could do what they want with it,” he added.

To Joe Worlund, associate athletic director, the presence of blank Underpass space was news.

“To be honest, I knew that people reserved sections but didn’t know that [SU] reserved sections for specific groups. I don’t know if it is the coaches or the athletes or someone from Red Alert that are supposed to reserve the wall space,” he said.

According to Worlund, Red Alert is not as strong as it had been a few years back.

“Two or three years ago, Red Alert was really thriving. We had some non-athletes who were really into it and trying to increase student attendance at games. But eventually it went over to some varsity athletes, and the varsity athletes are varsity athletes,” Worlund said. “There are things they can’t do that the non-athletes can do with their time. It all depends on that strong student leadership”.

However, Red Alert appears to be making a comeback.

“There are two guys that just took it over in January that seem to be really making an effort to be on the right track again. They are making all the right plans and showing up at all the right events, getting it all back on track, helping it regain steam,” Worlund said.

Like Worlund, sophomores Mitch Mechigian and Eddie Sigman, currently in charge of Red Alert, did not know about the space reserved for them on the Underpass.

“Our main method of communication is online marketing, so we have a Facebook page where we put up pictures of games and invite people to like things,” Mechigian said. “But as far as priorities go, the Underpass isn’t at the top of the list. I’m sure any more marketing we did would definitely help out, though.”

Working closely with Red Alert are juniors Abby King and Lindsay Kaminski, marketing and public relations interns for the athletics department.

“We have been using Facebook a lot more recently, and the number of likes we have gotten on our page has been crazy,” King said. “Since working with the new Red Alert people, the amount of traffic we have been driving has been pretty cool.”

Echoing Worlund and Mechigian’s sentiments, King and Kaminski did not know the athletics department had Underpass space reserved. However, now with the newfound knowledge, they are enthusiastic about utilizing their section for event promotion.

“I love painting, so I would be all over that,” Kaminski said.

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