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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

Mob mentality takes hold of student group

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KINGSTON, R.I. – December 17, 2010 – They wear their hearts – and their Rhody pride – on their sleeve. For many, the White and Keaney can be seen on the faces as well.

They are The Mob, the University of Rhode Island student spirit group whose presence at men’s basketball games and other campus events is unmistakable. They cheer the Rams, and make life a little more difficult on the opposition with good-natured banter.

What started during the 2005-06 basketball season as a modest crew of about 40 students has more than quadroupled in size to more than 250 members this season. Senior Colin Giblin, president of The Mob, sees the group as an extension of what URI is trying to do with its athletic program.

As it works to develop a stronger presence throughout campus, Mob members have made stronger efforts to recruit new members. Sophomore Ben Bernstein and junior Luis Gonzalez handle recruitment and marketing, passing hundreds of fliers around campus for home games.

The group also has a Facebook page that keeps fans apprised of all athletic events, as well as a blog and Twitter feed.

“We are helping to turn the page to create a better environment on campus in terms of school spirit,” Giblin said. “We want more students to take the attitude of, ‘This is my school, and I want to be a part of it.’ We are building something that we are very proud of. We’re helping to breathe life into the student body.”

That energy was evident in the first home game of the season against in-state rival Brown University. The Mob was 193 members strong against the Bears, an impressive figure for the home opener.

Student members of the Mob are expected to attend all home games for the men’s basketball team, though exams and school come first. The group also makes several road trips during the season, with members taking to the road for games, including tilts at Temple University, the University of Massachusetts, Northeastern University and, of course, Providence College.

“It’s definitely a commitment,” Giblin said. “We want to set the example for the entire student body to come out and support our teams.”

The group is working to create similar followings for other teams on campus as well. During the fall, the Mob made its presence felt at football games, and some members were regulars at soccer games as well.

Giblin and other Mob members plan to reach out to similar student groups at other schools – particularly Dayton University, the University of Massachusetts and Providence College – to see how those schools have successfully grown and sustained their spirit groups.

One of the key duties of the Mob, as Giblin sees it, is to create buzz among the entire student body.

“If you make the choice to attend a university, you should have pride in being a part of the school,” Giblin said. “It is a way to have fun, but also support our school.”

The Mob does more than attend games and cheer on the Rams. Group members work with athletic department staff on game promotions and other activities. The Mob also has led several philanthropic efforts. During the fall, an equipment drive at URI soccer matches led to a sizeable donation of goods to the Salvation Army, and last year the group raised more than $250 for the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation. This year, the group is doubling its goal, aiming to raise at least $500.

“We are representing the University, we want to show that we are a student body with a conscious,” Giblin said.

To learn more about the Mob, contact them via email at mob@etal.uri.edu.