‘Raider Nights in the City’ holds promise for increased student engagement

Wright State students attended a Dayton Dragons game as part of Raider Nights in the City.

Munching on a hot dog at a Cincinnati Reds baseball game behind home plate, enjoying a performance of the musical “Hamilton” and taking in a Columbus Blue Jackets hockey game.

These outings for Wright State University students are part of “Raider Nights in the City,” a Student Government Association initiative designed to get more students involved in campus life.

Jonathan Ciero, student body president, said the off-campus outings are “gateway events,” an opportunity to interest students in campus activities.

“For everything we do, there are another 10 or 20 events that all of the other organizations are doing on campus,” said Ciero. “I can guarantee you the student who stays on campus and participates in events has a lot more interest in the university, wants to stay at the university, and will tell you the university is fantastic and a lot of fun compared to the student who comes to campus just for class and then goes back home.”

The first Raider Nights in the City event was in early September at a Dayton Dragons baseball game at Day Air Ball Park. One of the attendees was an international student who had never been to an American sporting event.

“Once we were able to explain the game to him and he was able to understand what was happening, he thought it was really cool,” said Ciero. “He got to experience that, which was really cool for us to see.”

The second event was a Cincinnati Reds game at Great American Ball Park in late September, an outing that drew 25 students, faculty, staff and guests. It was the first Wright State event for some of the students, who sat as a group up a few levels behind home plate.

Raider Nights in the City involves busing students to the events and back to campus. Transportation and event tickets are subsidized in part by the Office of the President and Crawford Hoying, which manages residential housing.

“We try to keep the tickets as cheap as possible,” said Ciero. “We are able to cover a good chunk of the costs.”

The next event will be Feb. 4 for a showing of the musical “Hamilton” at the Schuster Center in downtown Dayton. Fifty tickets at about $40 apiece will be sold to students for one week in January before sales are opened up to faculty and staff.

“I’ve very confident we are going to sell out of those tickets pretty quickly,” said Ciero.

On March 11, there will be an outing to a Columbus Blue Jackets hockey game. Outings to a Columbus Crew soccer game and to Kings Island or Cedar Point are also possible.

Ciero said the goal of the Wright State outings is to fire up campus spirit — an enthusiasm that has students wearing Wright State colors, loudly cheering at basketball games and taking pride in the university.

Students who are active in campus activities often become ambassadors for Wright State following graduation and spread the word in their communities, Ciero said.

“They are going to be able to draw on all of the events they went to, talk about how much fun it was and how great the university is,” he said.

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