Copyright 2014 The Pantagraph
NORMAL - Illinois State's athletic department will provide feedback this week that can be summed up in a word: Thanks. Yet, ISU's first "Community Appreciation Week" also is about obtaining feedback regarding Redbird athletics.
Members of the community are invited to take part in an online survey at GoRedbirds.com/survey to give ISU athletic director Larry Lyons and his staff a feel for how well - or not so well - people think they are doing.
"If you don't have some constructive criticism you're kind of flying blind," Lyons said. "And folks aren't usually shy about sharing their opinions on college athletics. We encourage that.
"If we can find ways to respond that improves the experience or improves the facility or whatever that improvement may be, then we want to do that."
The week of activities kicks off from 5 to 6 p.m. Tuesday with Reggie Redbird and ISU cheerleaders making an appearance at Starcrest Cleaners, 1712 E. College Ave., Normal. There will be a similar event from 5 to 6 p.m. Wednesday at Moe's Southwest Grill, 1730 Bradford Lane, Normal.
On Thursday, from 2 to 4 p.m., ISU athletes, cheerleaders and Reggie Redbird will be at Parkway Auto Laundry, 307 Greenbriar Dr., Normal, and on Friday from 3 to 5 p.m. there will be a WJBC live remote broadcast featuring ISU coaches, staff and cheerleaders at Meijer in Normal.
The week concludes with the first Family Movie Night at Hancock Stadium, featuring the Academy Award winning animated feature "Frozen" at 6 p.m. on the stadium's new scoreboard.
"This was an opportunity for us to say thank you to folks in the community who may have come to our games or maybe they haven't, but in some form or fashion they have supported our athletic program," said Aaron Leetch, Deputy Athletic Director/External Operations.
"We also want to hear how we're doing. We want to hear about how we can be better, how are pricing structure is, are we still a value? Are we entertaining people when they come? Is it a family event?"
Saturday's Family Movie Night is free with families asked to bring blankets to sit on the Hancock Stadium turf (no chairs will be allowed). Parking in lots adjacent to the stadium is free and gates open at 5 p.m. If there is a threat of inclement weather the event will move inside Horton Field House.
"People are going to experience the stadium in a way they've not experienced it before," Lyons said. "We've talked about how Hancock Stadium is more of a community asset with the club being used as much as it is.
"To be able to bring folks in and sit on that turf - most people have never touched that turf - and enjoy a movie on a big screen with great sound, I think it's a pretty nice way to use the asset."
Lyons expects there to be a drive-in movie feel and credited Leetch and his staff for proposing and coordinating the week of activities.
"We kick off each year with a hog roast which is for our donors," Leetch said. "This is a way of finishing off a year where we've had success and seen a lot of things. We've opened the (renovated) football stadium, we celebrated 25 years in this building (Redbird Arena) and done a lot of things outside of what's happening on the playing surface.
"We have a lot to be proud of and a lot to celebrate and the folks who should be celebrating with us are the folks who have helped us make this possible."
Schedule of events
5 to 6 p.m. - Reggie Redbird and cheerleaders at Starcrest Cleaners, 1712 E. College Ave., Normal
5 to 6 p.m. - Reggie Redbird and cheerleaders at Moe's Southwest Grill, 1730 Bradford Lane, Normal
2 to 4 p.m. - Student-athletes, Reggie Redbird and cheerleaders at Parkway Auto Laundry, 307 Greenbriar Dr., Normal
3 to 5 p.m. - WJBC Live Remote: Coaches, staff, Reggie Redbird and cheerleaders at Meijer, 1900 E. College Ave., Normal
6 to 8 p.m. - Family Movie Night at Hancock Stadium featuring the film Frozen (free admission, doors open at 5 p.m.)