Senior Reuben King, right, has some fun with his fraternity brothers in an impromptu strolling competition during Wednesday night's Rams Rally at ASU pedestrian mall. (Photo by Joe Bellacomo)
ALBANY -- The thuds and vibrations from speakers blasting hip-hop music could be felt from the bridge on Radium Springs road.
On Wednesday evening, scores of Albany State students lined the Pedestrian Mall for the school's pep rally to kick off the fall sports season.
"The importance of an event like this is to support our student athletes who work very hard," 21-year-old junior Symone Love said. "It's up to us as students to come support them and our fellow classmates."
The event, hosted by the Student Activities Advisory Board and Student Government Association, featured brief remarks from ASU President Dr. Everette J. Freeman and Dr. Edgar Berry, vice president for Student Affairs.
"An event like this means the students at Albany State University support their athletic program," Freeman said. "It means a lot to us because the student-athletes really are those who manage their time in an extraordinary way. They have to be attentive to their academic studies and their athletic responsibilities, so they are the best of the best.
"Whenever we can have a pep rally in support of our student-athletes, it is a good day."
Senior Ken Nesbitt is one of those student-athletes who played an integral role in Wednesday's rally. He, along with several other members of the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, roused the student body with Greek strolls and captivating dances.
"Any time we come out [to dance] it is entertainment," Nesbitt said, who pitches for ASU's baseball team. "Whenever we start strolling, the crowd gathers around so we play a big part in campus events."
Other activities included a mini step show and a performance from the ASU Cheerleaders, who also invigorated those in attendance with their signature "Ram Buck" cheer.
"Being that I am a former cheerleader, I enjoy being out here for the football team; it's a really good time when everybody gets together and gets to hang out," 23-year-old graduating senior Nicole Williams said. "When we get together like this, it just shows the love we have for our university."
While all fall sports such as volleyball and cross country were highlighted, the start of the 2011 football season was the focal point of Wednesday's rally.
"It keeps us in the winning spirit," Tory Torstenson, place kicker for the Golden Rams, answered when asked what a pep rally means to the team. "We see the students and everyone coming out here to support us, so we want to make them happy with a winning team."
Although a premium will always be placed on winning, students were admonished to maintain a certain level of integrity, remembering that they represent Albany State.
"We want to win with dignity and lose with dignity; we want to be a class act," Berry said. "We want the students to have fun and cheer the team on, but we want them to do it with class. So we want them to keep everything intact and make sure that whatever they do is for the university and the young people here."
The Rams begin their football season September 3 in Macon for the Music City Classic against Savannah State University.