CommUniverCity is the biggest night of the year
Sept. 13, 2000
KALAMAZOO -- A variety of special events are taking place this year in conjunction with Western Michigan University's eighth annual CommUniverCity Night on Saturday, Sept. 16.
This gigantic celebration kicks off the first home football game of the 2000 season and has become one of Southwest Michigan's biggest yearly athletic events. The focal point of the festivities will be the 6 p.m. gridiron contest between the WMU Broncos and Indiana State University Sycamores.
The past two CommUniverCity games have set school and Mid-American Conference single-game attendance records. The 1999 game drew 35,874 fans.
As in past years, this year's event will feature private tailgate parties before the game and a spectacular fireworks display after the game.
Irene L. Bracken, director of corporate relations in WMU's Division of Intercollegiate Athletics, says the 55-tent "Corporate Village" that the University sets up next to Waldo Stadium for the private tailgates will once again be filled to capacity for CommUniverCity Night.
"This will be the third straight year the village has been sold out," Bracken says. "About 13,000 people now attend the private tailgate parties for our home opener each year.
"We're thrilled about how enthusiastically the community is supporting our football program," she adds. "Attendance at the games has been phenomenal and so has attendance at the private tailgates, which are held before every home game."
Numerous community-wide activities have been planned leading up to this year's CommUniverCity football game, including an American Heart Association "walk all over heart disease and stroke." The non-competitive three-mile and one-mile walk will start 9 a.m. Saturday near WMU's Miller Auditorium, with registration opening at 8 a.m.
There will be snacks and door prizes for all walkers and T-shirts for those who raise more than $100 in sponsorships. Proceeds will go toward medical research and education. Event sponsors include Borgess Health Alliance, Bronson Methodist Hospital, WMU, the Kalamazoo Gazette, Q106-FM, National City Bank, Merck, Dana Corp., Pharmacia Corp. and Styker Corp.
Several of the other activities preceding CommUniverCity Night involve the Ameritech Invitational volleyball tournament Friday, Sept. 15, and Saturday, Sept. 16, at WMU's University Arena.
For the match at noon on Friday, fans are invited to have lunch while the Broncos play Liberty University. Food may be brought in or bought at one of the arena concession stands. Tickets for the match also may be used for admission to the 7:30 p.m. volleyball game that evening with the University of Connecticut.
The match with Big East power Connecticut has been dubbed "Premiere Night" and will mark the official launch of the 2000-01 Bronco sports season. Modeled after a Hollywood premiere, this gala event will provide the perfect opportunity to dress to the hilt. In fact, two photographers will be on hand from 6 to 7 p.m. to snap free photos of the dapper participants.
The first 2,000 people to turn out will receive a special poster that kicks off the Bronco year in style. In addition, head football coach Gary Darnell and other Bronco celebrities will be on hand. Darnell will review his team's Sept. 9 upset win over the University of Iowa as well as talk about what to expect during the CommUniverCity Night football game.
Rounding out the volleyball-related activities will be the 1 p.m. contest Saturday against Ohio State University. Those attending the match, which is free to anyone with a CommUniverCity football game ticket, are invited to join the spikers for a free tailgate immediately after the game.
Media contact: Jeanne Baron, 616 387-8400, firstname.lastname@example.org