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Bucky rolls out the Red Carpet for a new Badger football season

August 30, 2007 By Dennis Chaptman

Rolling Out the Red Carpet, the University of Wisconsin–Madison campaign to encourage a more fan-friendly atmosphere at Camp Randall Stadium, is ready to roll for a fourth straight season.

Prior to the Badgers’ Sept. 1 season opener against Washington State, fans will again see volunteer Fan Ambassadors, sponsored this football season by Associated Bank, welcoming fans and distributing coupons and other items.

"The idea behind the program is to build new and welcoming traditions at Camp Randall Stadium," says Chancellor John D. Wiley. "During the past three seasons, we think this award-winning program has helped make a positive difference and has heightened people’s awareness of the importance of fan conduct."

The program was born out of a student-led effort in 2003 after the university received numerous complaints about aggressive fan conduct. The theme of the campaign is "Welcome to Our House: Making Game Day Great."

Rolling Out the Red Carpet is coordinated by the Athletic Department and University Communications and is aimed at helping Madison put its best foot forward on games days.

"We are proud of our long-standing partnership with the University of Wisconsin and Badger sports," says Paul Beideman, chair and CEO of Associated Bank. "We see this program as a way to enhance the game-day experience for Badger fans, many of whom are our customers as well."

The Associated Bank Fan Ambassadors, volunteer students clad in bright green vests, greet fans outside the stadium on game days, answer questions and distribute promotional materials.

Each year, more than 200 students from a wide variety of student groups volunteer for the popular pre-game effort.

"We hear from fans and the volunteers that they like the way that Wisconsin has added a fun and personal touch to the pre-game atmosphere," says John Finkler, guest services director for athletics. "It’s another way we can reach out to our fans and make game days more fun and Camp Randall Stadium more welcoming."

In addition to the Associated Bank Fan Ambassadors, the program provides public service announcements featuring Bucky Badger and band director Mike Leckrone, which are played on the stadium scoreboards. The university also reaches out to local merchants to help promote the effort.

Rolling Out the Red Carpet is also funded through the use of private donations to UW–Madison. No taxpayer funds have been used.