Even more Havocs with Heart serving community

October 19, 2016 / by / 0 Comment

Thunder and the Havocs cheer on the home team.

The Havocs with everyone’s favorite mascot, Thunder

Story by Laurie Merrill
Photos by Darryl Webb
GCU News Bureau

Abigail Ploeser

Abigail Ploeser

It’s another thunderous year for GCU’s Havocs, the zany, purple-painted zealots whose raucous roaring and wild antics have become a significant part of the entertainment — and success — of home athletic events.

This year, a record 1,500 students (500 more than last year) signed up for Havocs all-access passes, guaranteeing themselves reserved seating, exclusive gear and tailgate privileges, all for only $25 apiece.

At the same time, the Havocs with Heart arm also is off to a strong start, said student worker Abigail Ploeser, marketing manager and Havocs with Heart liaison.

Members of the Havocs were among the supporters at the finish line cheering on the runners.

Members of the Havocs were among the supporters at the finish line cheering on the runners at the 2016 Run to Fight Children’s Cancer.

“It was such a success last year,” Ploeser said. “We are excited about bringing it back for a second year to build on the support and make it bigger and better and hopefully set students up with an organization that they would like to serve and partner with in the long run.”

Havocs with Heart is in year two of transmitting some of its incredible energy to help recipients of four nonprofit groups. They are listed below with their service project dates:

  • HopeKids, which grants special wishes to children facing life-threatening illnesses in Arizona. Service project date: Saturday.
  • Best Buddies, which serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Service project date: Saturday, Oct. 29
  • Phoenix Rescue Mission, which provides meals, shelter and other services to the homeless, hungry and drug addicted. Service project date: Saturday, Nov. 12
  • GCU Foundation’s Run to Fight Children’s Cancer, which raises funds and awareness in the fight against pediatric cancer. Service project date: Saturday, March 11.

Not only will the ebullient Havocs share love and service with these communities, they will also recognize them at a designated men’s home basketball game, for which the recipients will be offered free admission.

“Havocs with Heart make a ruckus wherever they go, but it’s always with a purpose,” said GCU Community Outreach Manager Debbie Accomazzo, race director of the Run to Fight Children’s Cancer. “Their leadership team has an uncanny ability to create community, build momentum and, for our students and the causes they serve, make incredible memories that will last a lifetime.”

The Havocs’ histrionics at games have become legendary, but they also reach out to the community. (Photo by Darryl Webb)

The Havocs’ histrionics at games have become legendary, but they also reach out to the community.

The first Havocs with Heart project, the Hope Walk to benefit HopeKids, is scheduled for 8 a.m. Saturday at Notre Dame Preparatory High School in Scottsdale, though Ploeser said she has asked the Havocs to show up by 7:45 a.m.

More than 150 Havocs are expected to turn out, but the more the merrier, Ploeser said. The deadline to sign up is Thursday, and those wishing to participate can click here.

Sure, the Havocs will hand out plenty of water and give out many a high five to both children and their families among the more than 1,800 walkers. But mostly, Ploeser said, they will do what Havocs are known for.

“It’s a lot of cheering,” she said. “It’s so organic and natural for the Havocs. That’s what we do, so it’s organic for the Havocs to use it in doing something really cool for the community.”

Contact Laurie Merrill at (602) 639-6511 or laurie.merrill@gcu.edu.

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