New Red Hawk Pride Society to Spread School Spirit

Society members serve as student ambassadors at campus programs and events

Senior Nicholas Vessichelli has worked to spread school spirit at Montclair State over the past three years, through leadership roles ranging from peer advisor and admissions ambassador to homecoming royalty and his current role as a resident assistant. Now, he is a member of the Red Hawk Pride Society, a new organization that recognizes outstanding student leadership.

“The 25 inaugural Red Hawk Pride Society members have been nominated and selected by faculty and administrators who recognize the work these students have done to spread school spirit,” explains Karen L. Pennington, vice president for Student Development and Campus Life at Montclair State. “They are highly visible, enthusiastic student leaders who are dedicated to promoting school spirit and campus pride among students, faculty, staff and alumni.”

Society members serve as ambassadors at various University events and functions such as Homecoming, admissions open houses, Accepted Student Day, athletic events and Red Hawk Day, where they promote school spirit. They actively encourage good citizenship and school spirit in their fellow students. They will also be called on to help establish new campus traditions.

A number of the Red Hawk Pride Society members are former members of the Spirit Squad. “Through the vision of Dr. Pennington and her staff, the Spirit Squad has grown into the Red Hawk Pride Society,” says junior Rajhon White.

“Being a part of the Society means being among a group of individuals who truly value Montclair State University and who want to spread and encourage other students to feel the pride,” says White, who is the executive vice president of the Student Government Association. “Red Hawk spirit to me is an attitude of gratitude. I’m grateful to be a part of a diverse community that encourages the advancement and achievement of all its students.”

An organizational communication major with a leadership minor, White says showing school spirit can be as simple as wearing school apparel. “While my friends sometimes call me crazy for having seven different Montclair State hoodies, I see it as a way to show my University the support and pride I take in it.”

Junior Jazmin Garcia agrees that even little gestures count. “Spreading Red Hawk spirit is about trying to make a positive impact on the lives of the people around you,” she explains. “The act does not have to be a huge thing. I’ve learned that the tiniest moments sometimes are the ones that make the biggest impacts, and that just a smile can change anyone’s day.”

A molecular biology major, Garcia is also a resident-EMT for Montclair State University EMS, a CAPS ambassador and a volunteer at the Women’s Center. “It is a tremendous honor to be one of the Red Hawk Pride Society’s first inductees,” she says.  

For Vessichelli, Red Hawk spirit is about paying it forward. “Being part of the inaugural Red Hawk Pride Society is a way for me to positively give back to the Montclair State community with the same generosity it has given to me over the past three years.”

Garcia sums it up this way: “I am immensely proud to be a part of the Red Hawk family. Once a Red Hawk, always a Red Hawk.”