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Peter Wilkinson

Name: Peter Wilkinson

Hometown: Lancaster, NH

Class: Junior

By now, we are all very familiar with the student section that is filled with pride, passion, and spirit at the UNH Men’s Hockey game, and it is only right that we shine a light on the reason for all of it, Peter Wilkinson. Keep reading to find out more, including why Peter’s so passionate about creating and sustaining such high school spirit here at UNH, what he has done to do so, and what he is currently working on. Hopefully his story will give us Wildcats some motivation to continue to increase our own sense of school spirit!

I am a Junior Environmental Conservation and Sustainability Major. I am President of Residence Hall Association and the Student Ambassador for the Energy Task Force, but what you’re most interested in, is that I’m basically “UNH’s Biggest Fan,” or “UNH’s #1 Fan,” or “Mr. UNH.” – I’ve been called all of those names before because I don’t have an official title as the school spirit leader here on campus. Back in high school, I developed a passion for school spirit because I witnessed how it brought together the small community (about 400-450 kids) of my high school. I was the guy that would paint his entire torso and face blue, and then get 10 or so other guys to paint up with me to spell out “Go Lady Spartans” or whatever we chose to write on ourselves that night. We ran chants/cheers at all the home basketball games because basketball was our biggest sport. Then we filmed our first ever lip dub during my senior year, which solidified the school spirit movement that I had started at my high school.

I came to UNH as a freshman with high hopes of finding a highly spirited school community, but when I got here, it wasn’t quite what I had hoped. So, I made it my mission to start a school spirit movement on this campus. I wanted to make a change on this campus. I wanted to make a cultural change by influencing students’ attitude toward UNH. I wanted to improve the level of school spirit on campus by instilling a better sense of pride in the students here. I wanted to give students a reason to be proud to wear those blue and white colors, proud to wear the UNH Wildcats t-shirts. And that is exactly what I have done and what I am continuing to do.

I just love the positive, exuberant energy that you feel when you’re part of a crowd that’s chanting in unison. I live for those moments when you just feel like you’re part of something bigger. The sense of camaraderie is unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced, and I honestly just love it.

I started off by just attending basically every sporting event (I haven’t missed a single Men’s home hockey game during my 3 years here, and I’ve been to almost every football and basketball game, as well as other sporting events like soccer, volleyball, swimming and gymnastics).  At the beginning of my sophomore year, I hosted the Wildcat Pride Summit, which was an event that took place in MUB Theater I in October, 2012.  About 50 students attended, some Division 1 athletes and some non-athletes, and then we had a conversation about the level of school spirit on campus, and we all agreed that it was in dire need of improvement. So, we formed a group and called ourselves The ‘Cat Pack, then began meeting regularly and we attended various games over Homecoming weekend last year to lead chants/cheers. It was incredible to see this group of students, who had never met each other before, come together to do this. Unfortunately, the group dissolved because we didn’t become an established student organization.

Fast forward to this year, I am now the leader of Wildcat Army, which is the spirit group that leads the student section at all men’s home hockey games. Wildcat Army is not an established student org., however, after attending UNH Leadership Camp this past January, I designed a Leadership Action Plan to help me carry out my school spirit initiative here. The goal of the plan is to instill a better sense of pride and passion in students here at UNH by improving the level of school spirit at athletic games and establishing traditions at those games. One step in this process, is establishing a student organization that is dedicated to instilling that pride/passion in students by running the student sections at all major sporting events (hockey, football, basketball, etc.) I have recruited about 10-12 students who are now working with me to create this student org. and we are extremely close to making it happen, we just have to decide on a name, and basically, it’s going to be either Wildcat Army or The ‘Cat Pack.

I run the cowbell at some hockey games, but my friend Tyler ran the bell most of this year because he’s a senior, while I ran the chants. But I am more of the leader of the group and keep everything coordinated.  I paint my face, and sometimes my whole body, for just about every game. I am also the creator of the blue and white “I Believe in UNH” banner that is somewhat famous on campus now and can be seen at hockey games as students hold it over their heads as they chant “I Believe in UNH.” Some friends of mine were a huge help in creating that banner, so I need to give them credit as well.

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