Two weeks ago, Livability.com named Denton number five on the list of the top ten college towns in the United States, and my column opened like this: “Word: dentoning. Definition: Exploring the shops, restaurants, music venues and cultural attractions in Denton, TX. This is Livability.com’s summarized definition of dentoning, a word now common in Denton culture coined by Dentonite Scott Campbell.”
My intent is not to bore faithful readers with repetition. But what occurred to me this week is that we have thousands of new students now among us who have yet to learn about Dentoning. CVB staff spent last week on both UNT and TWU campuses greeting students and spreading the dentoning gospel. Simultaneously, President Neal Smatresk’s August edition of UNT News Roundup urged students to get ready to turn the town green as Mean Green football gets underway in just a couple of weeks.
I knew then that this week’s column needed to address the CVB’s just-launched Mean Green Game Day 2015 campaign, designed to bring dentoning and green together like never before. It may very well be the finest way yet to engage town and gown in learning the art of dentoning and discovering why ours is such a rocking college town.
This will be the second full-season Mean Green Game Day campaign. In 2014, game-going numbers continued their rise over record attendance during the team’s inaugural, bowl-winning season at Apogee Stadium in 2013. The other exciting rise in numbers were the people discovering downtown on game days. That is the heart of the campaign’s mission: to merge the Apogee and downtown experiences into one major event during every home game.
This year, 32 businesses in the downtown and Fry Street entertainment districts partnered with the CVB, Mean Green Athletics, the City of Denton and the Denton County Transportation Authority (DCTA) A-train to fund a massive advertising and social media campaign aimed to students, alumni and Dentonites. So what will it look like?
Chartered busses will run a FREE and constant shuttle route beginning two hours before kick-off until an hour after every home game between downtown and the pedestrian bridge at Apogee. The route begins at City Hall East (across from the A-train station) with various hop on/hop off stops along Hickory, Oak and Fry Streets. UNT shuttle hosts will ramp the ride experience to party-bus levels. Eight-foot tall banners, wayfinding signs, business banners, green-and-white pennant flagging and pocket brochures will lead visitors to businesses, every one of which is offering game day specials from Mean Green ice cream and discounts to dollar coffee and green beer. And expect to see Mean Green Game Day attire everywhere!
Shuttle hosts and two Game Day tailgates, one downtown and one in the Mean Green Tailgate Village, will distribute bracelets that grant access to all the campaign specials. Anyone can access the shuttles, the point being to broaden the dentoning experience.
Believe me, game day is an event in other college towns. I’ve seen it at Texas A&M, our son’s alma mater. It’s a process, but we are building the same kind of fervor that turns College Station maroon on game days to turn Denton green.
My brother and I are both UNT alums. I’m here all the time, but my brother lives in Rockwall. During 2013’s first season at Apogee, I invited him to a game. Little did I know, that was his first visit to Denton since he graduated in 1985. That is the story we are changing! Since rediscovering Denton, he’s been back several times, even bringing his kids to see his alma mater, a thought that had not occurred to him before his game day visit when he discovered a whole new Denton than was here 30 years ago.
In an August 23rd Denton Record Chronicle article, Dr. Smatresk said, “If we’re going to compete as a Tier One institution, our athletics teams need to compete as a Tier One institution as well.”
Livability.com said much the same thing when Denton moved up in the top 10 college town ranks because of our Division I athletics status. Like it or not, athletics are vital to national perception of great universities and great college towns. Mean Green Game Day is the bridge we have created to link students to a complete Denton college-town experience, alums to an alma mater they can be proud of and locals to hometown team loyalty, football fans or not!
Dentoning on Game Day is for everyone. It’s a festival every home game weekend. Check out meangreengameday.com for details. Go Mean Green!