Gonzaga University's Kennel Club is thrilled to kick off its 2021-22 season with various in-person events for Kennel Club members both inside and outside of The Kennel, like sports seasons prior to COVID-19.
Now that Kennel Club can safely host student events, its board members are approaching this season with more Zag spirit and enthusiasm than ever before.
“This year, we are treating [it] as a comeback,” said Daniel Kireopoulos, Kennel Club vice president. “That has been our mentality since we have been planning this summer, and I think students are really embracing that.”
To start off this season, Kennel Club held a back-to-school soccer tailgate on Aug. 29 before the GU men’s soccer game against Bowling Green State University. The tailgate welcomed Zags to a social atmosphere with music, games and ice cream. Specialty scarves were additionally offered to Kennel Club members on a first come, first serve basis.
Kireopoulos said the event broke Kennel Club’s record for like-tailgate events by several hundred attendees. In total, about 600-700 students joined the tailgate.
“Students are definitely showing up,” said Macy Ryan, Kennel Club president. “I think people are just excited to go back to events.”
Ryan said Kennel Club plans to host more events in the next month surrounding GU women’s soccer, men’s soccer, volleyball and, of course, countless opportunities to cheer on GU men's and women's basketball.
Ryan said a forthcoming fall semester highlight is Kraziness in The Kennel, which will be held on Saturday, Oct. 9 of Fall Family Weekend in the McCarthey Athletic Center.
Kraziness In The Kennel, a scrimmage event held by GU Athletics, is an opportunity for Zags and their families to dress up in their game-day gear while receiving a first-look at the GU men’s basketball team, in addition to experiencing the thrilling energy of The Kennel that is to come this basketball season.
Ryan said FanFest, an athletics event similar to Kraziness In The Kennel for the women's basketball team, will be held the following weekend for the GU women’s basketball team.
In addition to sports-related events, Kennel Club will also continue to hold occasional donation drives and outreach events through Kennel Cares this season.
As GU’s Jesuit mission places value in giving back to the community beyond the university, Kennel Club’s Kennel Cares program focuses on giving back to the Spokane community as a gesture of gratitude for the enthusiasm and energy they continuously pour into the success of our own athletic programs.
With limited games and nearly no opportunity to hold in-person events during its last season during the 2020-21 school year, Kennel Club focused on expanding its dedication to Kennel Cares and other service opportunities.
“Parts of it were hard,” Ryan said. “Most of what we normally do was taken away from us, but it allowed us to focus on things we normally wouldn’t have.”
Last fall, Kennel Club teamed up with Rick Clark and Giving Back Packs to pass out backpacks, masks, food vouchers and bus vouchers to downtown Spokane’s homeless community.
The outreach opportunity was one of the only in-person events Kennel Club was able to coordinate last fall.
Kennel Club also worked alongside Black Student Union (BSU) and Gonzaga Student Body Association. Adam Mazurek, Kennel Club graphic designer, collaborated with BSU representative Jackie Lee to create “Black Lives Matter” shirts that had an overwhelmingly positive response from the GU community, selling out in less than eight days.
Looking forward to the spring semester, Kennel Club is excited to once again host Tent City, an opportunity for students to show their dedication to the GU men’s basketball fandom by camping for a spot in line with fellow students for select basketball games.
“Take advantage of these opportunities to go to Kennel Club events while you can,” Ryan said. “You never know when it may be taken away, and as a senior, I feel that not only are these four years going quickly but having had a year and a half of events taken away, now I am really grateful to have this opportunity to host these events again.”
From basketball season and the West Coast Conference tournament, to events surrounding GU men’s baseball season, Ryan said that there will be countless opportunities for Kennel Club members to show their GU spirit in the upcoming spring semester.
“Just be excited to cheer on Division I sports teams and to be a part of the Gonzaga community,” Kireopoulos said.
Registration for a Kennel Club membership is now open to all Zags for $30. This year's membership package includes two 2021-22 season Kennel Club shirts, two custom stickers, a drawstring bag, an exclusive membership to club events and special perks.
Eligible Zags who are willing to invest an additional $15 can register for a Social Club membership and receive exclusive access to all 21+ events and a jersey. To join Social Club, students must already be registered for a Kennel Club Membership.
To register for a Kennel Club and/or Social Club membership visit the Kennel Club website to fill out the membership form or use its sign-up QR code.