“We, the people of the ProfPack, promise to stand by our Profs..."
“We, the people of the ProfPack, promise to stand by our Profs...
Globs of yellow face paint collected on freshman Anthony Horvath’s eyelashes as he prepared for game time. The sight made Brendon Rush pause.
“You have points of gold on your eyelashes. Does it feel weird? It looks really cool,” Rush, a sophomore, said. Rush was resplendent himself with 11 alternating diagonal stripes of brown and gold across his face, an owl dangle hat perched on his head with proper Prof panache.
Horvath, who resembled a brown and gold raccoon, smiled.
“This is what happens,” Horvath said, “when you give Nicolette artistic freedom.”
Nicolette Camishion, the resident artist in the official ProfPack tent and the group’s president, just kept on painting. After all, it was nearly game time, and the pack needed to be properly pulchritudinous as they completed their own pre-game rituals.
The ProfPack’s goal? To praise the Prof.
"...in good times and in bad, through all of our athletic challenges.
Founded last semester by sophomore engineering majors Rush and Camishion, the ProfPack promotes school spirit by cheering wildly—and crazily—at Rowan athletic events. Painted up and decked out in Brown and Gold, the Pack leads chants, cheers—and fan fun—for all Prof teams…from football to field hockey to basketball to swimming to baseball.
The ProfPack grew out of a spirit group organized last spring by about 30 freshmen in the Thomas N. Bantivoglio Honors Program, all of who lived in Mullica Hall. The group, then known as the “Profets of Mullica,” so impressed representatives from Student Activities and Athletics at last spring’s 5K giveaway that the two groups approached the students about organizing the ProfPack.
Students who join the Pack sign the ProfPack Pact, a commitment to demonstrate school spirit to the nines. After attending three athletic events and checking in via an ID card swipe system provided by the Office of Orientation and Student Leadership Programs, each ProfPack-er receives a prized ProfPack t-shirt.
Altogether, more than 350 Rowan students, and even some alumni and parents, have signed the ProfPack Pact, promising unwavering support to all Rowan athletes. A committed group of as many as 30 students—and growing—attends games.
Funded jointly by Athletics and Student Activities, the Pack pitches a tent at athletic contests and students report there for body painting, fan fellowship and fun. Once the game starts, however, Prof pride becomes all business.
From their roped off area in the bleachers known as the ProfPerch, the Pack leads chants and cheers, showing positive, unwavering support to Rowan athletes. The students organize primarily through social media such as Twitter (@RUProfPack, #praisetheProf) and Facebook.
“We will exercise our right to be rowdy at all times, and unite as a sea of brown and gold...
“Our cheers are usually corny, stupid and silly,” says Rush. “Right now, we’re doing a lot of borrowing with our cheers. But we want to start a cheer committee and put a little more direction into it. We feel we have a real purpose—to make a community and praise the Prof.”
“We are spirited. We go a little crazy. We are not shy people,” Camishion laughs. “Our athletes are amazing. I love going to sporting events to support them. And I love that we have an organized group to do that.”
This semester alone, the pack has attended nearly 15 athletic events. Their presence at a game in October helped Coach Penny Kempf’s field hockey team break the NCAA Division III attendance record with a whopping 1,958 fans.
"…to praise the Prof and to instill fear into our adversaries.
School spirit is alive, well, and contagious at Rowan, says Rush, who can rattle off the University’s most recent accomplishments—two medical schools, public research designation, more than 60 new faculty members—quicker than you can say “Go RU.”
“It’s a huge period of change for the University and we’re part of that change. I love that you can do anything at Rowan if you try hard enough. Everything at Rowan allows you to stand out. There’s a real sense of community,” says Rush.
In addition to serving as the ProfPack’s secretary, Rush also is involved in a bevy of student activities, including serving as a founding father of Tau Epsilon Phi fraternity, a new interest group on campus, Habitat for Humanity, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Society of Automotive Engineers.
Camishion, a three-sport athlete in high school, is similarly involved, serving as a mentor for the Bantivoglio Honors Program, the Freshman Leadership Interest Program, and the Society of Women Engineers, volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, and serving as a sophomore class senator, among other activities.
“A lot of our members are in leadership roles on campus,” says Rush. “And we have a lot of freshmen involved.”
“What’s great about the ProfPack is that it’s something that freshmen can go to that’s not just freshman-oriented,” says Camishion. “I want to see, by the time that I’m a senior, that the ProfPack is a very natural tradition…that it’s just what you do when you go to Rowan. We all chose the University for different reasons, but we should all be proud of Rowan.”
“We are the Profs.
Rowan’s athletes are proud of the ProfPack, according Karlee Henderson, a junior field hockey player who co-chairs the Student Athletics Advisory Committee. Most Division III schools don’t have a spirit group quite like Rowan’s, she says.
“They are a great group of fans to have on our sidelines,” says Henderson, a right midfielder and team co-captain. “The kind of energy they bring really helps when you’re playing. The athletic teams are fighting over them. We’re excited to have them cheering for us.”
The Pack’s school spirit also will help Rowan attract top student-athletes, Henderson adds.
“We’re a very unique school. We have a lot going for us in academics and, also, in athletics. We have a great new Team House and now we have the ProfPack. Athletes considering Rowan will be impressed by that.”
“This is our Pack.”
Ryan Amaral, aka “Pan Man,” is the Pied Piper of Profdom, a role he clearly relishes.
The sophomore finance major and former high school wrestler is the first official “bleacher creature” in the ProfPack. He leads cheers in a loud, booming voice, keeping the beat with his official “Pan Man” percussions: half of a slotted wooden spoon and a Farberware non-stick frying pan that is his go-to instrument for grilled cheese…when he’s not rooting for Rowan.
The wooden spoon used to be a full spoon, but he split it in two at one of the first football games of the year. It’s a badge of honor to have a half-spoon—homage of sorts to ProfPack pluck.
“It’s one whole instrument. The pan and spoon should not be treated separately,” Amaral deadpanned.
Amaral likes to make a dramatic appearance to sporting events, coming in a minute or two after the game starts and leading the ProfPack to their ProfPerch. He’s gained a bit of a following. Not too long ago, an older woman—“She was, like, 30,” he says—stopped him in the yogurt aisle of the grocery store.
“She said, ‘Oh, it’s Pan Man! We were just talking about you.’ I enjoy that a little bit. I’m not going to lie.
“Rowan students are looking for an opportunity to come out to games and have a Division I type of experience,” he continues. “They want to have school spirit. We won’t be satisfied until the whole student body comes out to all of the games.”