Photo by Wichita.edu.
Each basketball season at Wichita State University, a city of tents pops up just south of WSU’s Charles Koch arena. Wichitans are familiar with this town, called Marshallville. Marshallville, named for basketball coach Gregg Marshall, celebrates the energy, spirit, and enthusiasm of the Wichita State Shockers, with students camping outside the arena even in frigid temperatures.
Marshallville has recently received the title of RSO, or registered student organization, which acknowledges Marshallville’s efforts to promote student involvement in Basketball games over the past three years.
This designation will also provide the group access to Wichita State facilities and make them eligible to receive funding from the Student Government Association.
The idea for Marshallville began with WSU junior Max Runyon, who felt that the environment surrounding basketball games could stand to be improved. He first began organizing events in 2013. His events allowed students to congregate prior to basketball games and increase enthusiasm among fans.
"It's a culture that gets energy going," Runyon says.
First named the "Students for Marshallville," the group’s primary objective was to boost student involvement and get the student body on board. Runyon created a Facebook page for the group, garnering further support from students.
Marshallville’s current Vice President, Sam Belsan, came to be involved with the group after learning about it this way. He believes that recognition as an RSO enables the group to invest more time into building community support, which he hopes will, in turn, produce bigger pre-game crowds.
The group, which started as a way to increase involvement in Wichita State athletics, has since grown to become a community where students can meet and socialize.
For students like sophomore Haley Turner, camping out in Marshallville provides an ultimate college experience. According to Turner, camping at Marshallville made her feel like a college student for the first time.
"We all had our love for our Shockers, and that was what brought us together," Turner says.
Turner is now the secretary of Marshallville, and helps to create and promote events for students. She runs camp outs and monitors the student lines at Shocker basketball games.
"I want to give other students that sense of community and family atmosphere that I felt that weekend," says Turner. "It made me so much more grateful and excited to be a Shocker."
The group hopes to continue to grow, adding more events and gaining more student participation. Runyon plans to step down as Marshallville’s president following this season and looks forward to allowing others to continue the tradition and bring fresh ideas to the organization.