Athletic department seeks to connect to student body

Leah Bohlander

Leah BohlanderReporter

The department hopes to increase the support of SDSU’s athletic teams.

The SDSU athletic department and a select group of student leaders are now working together to better connect the department with students.

The group, currently called a student advisory council for the athletic director, is under the direction of Senior Associate Athletic Director Leon Costello. Costello joined the SDSU athletic department in March 2010 and is now using his position to help figure out the wants and needs of all students on campus.

“As a department, we have seen the lack of student participation at games and competitions, so we realize we are not connecting with the student population at some level,” Costello said. “By gathering a select group of student leaders from around campus we hope to learn what the students expect from the department.”

The group is made of nine student leaders that were suggested to Costello by campus leaders, faculty and staff.

The students represent five campus organizations: Residential Life, University Program Council, the Students’ Association, the Rabbit’s Den and student athletes.

Being in the early stages of development, the group has met twice and has yet to implement any plans or projects to further the athletic department’s outreach to students.

Shad Christman, a junior speech communication and political science major, is one of the nine members.

“So far, we have only had informational meetings to learn about the athletic department and the direction in which it is going,” Christman said. “A few student concerns have been expressed, and a few ideas have been thrown around about how to better reach out to the students. However, none of the ideas are quite solid yet.”

Costello said the group has looked into projects that range from a football stadium expansion to tailgating changes to many other ideas. He stressed that the group mostly revolves around getting the word out to students through any means possible.

The group meets once a month. Costello said that although the group only has nine members, a great cross-section of the student population will be represented if the group members bring back suggestions from their friends and classmates.

“As an athletic department the worst thing we can do is not listen to the students,” Costello said. “By having an avenue to ask students, and not just student athletes, the questions to improve the department, we can better plan for the future.”