On December 21st 2012 as a sophomore in college I decided to start an unofficial student section account for MTSU basketball and over the next 3 years me and a group of students helped grow the Zoo from a 2am idea into a full blown movement. Starting the Blue Zoo changed my life, I went from a struggling college student to a struggling college student with a career path.
Because of the Zoo I have been working in digital media for years now, which made me realize … I made a lot of stupid mistakes. So here is 5 things I would do if I started the BlueZoo today. (If you are trying to revive the Zoo, do this)
So about a year into running the Zoo we sat down with the athletic department and made the move to become the OFFICIAL student section of MTSU sports. You can imagine how pumped I was, I took an idea and grew it quickly enough that the Athletic department showed an interest.
It came with its perks for sure, but looking back I think we would have benefited from being fully independent. While it was never directly addressed I had a constant feeling that if I tried any of the following ideas it would have been shut down by the university.
Have an official membership fee
We ALWAYS said from the beginning that if you showed up to games, you were a member of the BlueZoo. The reasoning behind this was we wanted to eliminate any barrier to entry because we wanted to build the atmosphere as quickly as possible.
While this had good intentions it prevented us from raising funds for things like improving tailgates, running social media ads, organizing events & creating tifos. (its a soccer thing look it up)
Sit down with as many student orgs as possible
So, one thing I never quite understood about my time growing the Zoo was there was a small contingent of Greek orgs that seemed to have some sort of issue with us, even with me specifically at times. Which really bummed me out because I created the Zoo in an attempt to bring people together not to create any kind of a animosity.
In retrospect I would have sat down with every possible organization on campus in an attempt to bring them in on the cause. If I would have created some sort of BlueZoo board made up of these leaders perhaps we could have all worked towards the same goal.
Open an online store
Again, funding is something we always struggled with. With print on demand sites like Teespring and Printful, designing and selling your own merchandise so incredibly easy. This would have been a GREAT way to raise some money, I mean who wouldn’t buy a FCK WKU Run DMC spoof shirt. (wait, don’t steal that idea … we might do that.)
Make a organization handoff plan
Last but not least, once I graduated and left the university the account just sorta died … it still kinda bugs me that an account that once had so much influence in the midstate was just left to rot. Yea whoever controls it within the athletic department will occasionally retweet stuff from it but other than that its basically dead.
I wish I would have planned for what would happen to it after I left the university … Which is why HasBeenBoro is here! We may not be the “Official student section of MT athletics” but we have the same soul that the Zoo was built on and we know what the fuck we are doing this time around. Make sure you follow us on twitter at @HasBeenBoro and stay tuned for lots of shenanigans!