Sept. 18, 2008
Green House Creator White Helps Northwest "See Green"
By Maggie Corwin '12
Northwest Missouri State University is an institution that "Sees Green". Students and faculty, even all of Maryville, "See Green". Everywhere you look, green and white is proudly displayed, usually accompanied by a signature bearcat paw. Athletic events are fun and energized, with young and old alike, cheering on the team. Seeing green is the definition of school spirit at Northwest. And it's all thanks to Morris White, a man who sees nothing but green.
Morris White came up with the marketing term "We See Green" late one night last year when the current term, "In Your Own Backyard" seemed to be falling short of what he wanted. White was looking for a phrase that could represent Northwest, to be used not only for athletics but for university pride as well. "We See Green" fits all of that and more. Already the school web site is plastered with green eyes, and Highway 71 is dotted with 20-foot green-eyed bearcats. The first football game this season was promoted with "Sea of Green". Fans dressed, or even painted, themselves in all green for the occasion. The opposing team, Abilene Christian, entered Bearcat Stadium to a tidal wave of green, seeing firsthand what school spirit means to Northwest.
"Sea of Green" is just one of the promotions White, with the help of 14 interns, has come up with. Last year, Bearcat Stadium was a blanket of white with the "White Out". A volleyball game sponsored "Pink Out" as a way to support Breast Cancer Awareness. A full list of this year's coming promotions can be found on Northwest's athletic web site, which White strongly encourages every student to check out.
Promotions is just one of the many hats White wears. His official job title is Director of Athletic Marketing, Promotions, and Licensing. White was hired in 2006 when his predecessor, Kristen Konoske-Gohr, encouraged him to apply. At the time, he had a year of internship with the department, a B.A. in psychology, and a double minor in speech communications and health education and was unsure of his future plans. He hesitantly applied for the job, not knowing what the University was expecting, was granted an interview, and then was promptly hired.
Before Konoske-Gohr encouraged him to apply, and while White was still an intern, she came to him with the task of creating an official student cheering section. He took the idea, ran with it and created the Green House. The purpose of the Green House, though, is not to see how many people can fit into the section wearing the same shirt. To White, it doesn't matter if there are 10 members or if the entire student body is involved. He wants the Green House to be the loudest group with the most spirit. Its job is to infect the rest of the crowd with chants and to keep up morale when the game may not be in Northwest's favor.
White believes strongly in school spirit and also in sportsmanship. Every time he has called the Green House group together, he has stressed the point of being a good sport.
"Boo the other team, but shy away from personal attacks," said White. "We want our students to have fun and to make their presence known, but we want them to be respectful of our opponents and their fans. Anything that cannot be said in front of your grandmother should not be said."
According to White, there's a team on the field and a team in the stands. Good sportsmanship comes from knowing how to lose. The game may have been lost this time, but the loss was learned from to benefit the next go around.
White's spirit, sportsmanship and love for the game all come from his athletic background. In 2000, he was recruited and redshirted for Bearcat football. From 2001-2004, White was a wide receiver and kick returner, lettering all four years. He was team captain his senior year and found it humbling when little kids or fans would come up to him at the end of the game asking for his autograph. As the team captain he kept his team pumped during practice and games. He believed in leading by example, but in order to lead, he found you also have to be willing to be led.
With family supporting him, White felt he couldn't go wrong. His grandmother has always been the center of his family, encouraging him to do what he loves. He grew up in a single-parent home along with his two younger sisters and younger brother in St. Louis. He tries to set a positive example for his younger siblings and strives to be a good influence on everyone he meets. White is a busy man with a background full of stories, but if you ever see him on the street or promoting at a game, stop and say, "Hey" because he'll wave and smile back.
"I love what I do, the people I work with and am around and the ones I interact with," said White. "My
department will always be striving to be the best with promotions or anything we do. We want fans to be excited and wanting to come back for more because they had so much fun. Go big or go home because at Northwest, We See Green."
For more information, please contact:
Phillip Dowden, Media Relations/Sports Information
firstname.lastname@example.org | 660.562.1118 | Fax: 660.562.1582
Lamkin Activity Center | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468