Brandeis' Biggest Fan
Vince Lauffer ’19 is hoping to fill the bleachers
It’s a sight all too common at Brandeis sporting events: empty bleachers on the Brandeis side while the opposing team’s fans are often out in full support. It could be disheartening, but Vince Lauffer ’19 hopes to change that.
It all started when he worked as the team manager for Men’s Basketball during his mid year semester. Lauffer was at a home game against a team from the University of Rochester when he noticed this phenomenon. “There were more people in the crowd from Rochester than Brandeis. And they were cheering louder than the few people from Brandeis. And it was at that moment that that I realized something needed to be changed.”
With the help of a few friends, Lauffer created the Brandeis Superfan Club. The club hopes to organize groups of students to attend sporting events. Lauffer explained that he wants “to make the student athlete body feel supported, more so than they have in the past.”
To achieve this goal, Lauffer has had to think outside of the box when it comes to his club. Besides the usual club positions — President, Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary — Lauffer has created a new position: Club Merger Chair. Filled by Cristian Ordoñez ’19, the position is meant to encourage collaboration with other clubs on campus. “The idea is if we bring together clubs of different ideas and cultures, we can take those people who don’t usually go to games and bring them there, while providing an event they would usually attend,” Lauffer said. This could take the form of international cuisine tailgates or a round robin style video game tournament during halftime. The end result would hopefully be a large and passionate crowd.
But there are still some obstacles that are preventing this from becoming a reality. Most of the athletic events occur during the day, when many students are attending classes or otherwise busy. “It has a lot to do with timing … It’s not ideal for creating a crowd,” Lauffer said.
Lauffer is also critical of the listserv system employed by many clubs and worries that most emails get lost in the sheer volume of most student’s inboxes. The best way to get involved with Brandeis Superfan Club, according to Lauffer, is to check their Facebook page or reach out to him directly.
Yet despite these challenges, the group was able to go to a Men’s Soccer game this semester. “We went to a soccer game, and that was pretty good. We won. So the Brandeis Superfan Club’s record with the Men’s Soccer is 1-0. 100% of the time they win,” Lauffer laughed. He hopes the club will be able to go to more games next semester.
For most of the leaders and members of Brandeis Superfan Club, Lauffer explained that their high school sports culture was much different. “They all say the same thing. Just bleachers filled up with kids, not only because they lived around there, but because it was important. I guess when you’re in a smaller school, you want to go there and support people. But when you come here, it’s negligible. And that makes me upset, because my high school did have better sports culture,” he said.
In high school, Lauffer participated in cross country, track, basketball and swimming. Yet a series of injuries has lead him to focus on playing sports in noncompetitive contexts only. “I love sports and I like playing them too, but my body doesn’t like me to play sports,” Lauffer laughed.
On campus, Lauffer is involved with Student Events and his fraternity Sigma Alpha Mu. He’s double majoring in Business and Computer Science and hopes one day to start his own business. He’s currently involved in the Spark and LeanLauchpad Programs on campus which are sponsored by the Hasenfeld Family Innovation Center. Both are helping him make his entrepreneurial goals a reality. Lauffer has been happy with his Brandeis experience so far. “It’s a really nice sense of community. As much as Brandeis is divided, I have found a place that works. Don’t mess with success,” he said.
Looking to the future, Lauffer’s main goal is to make sure the Brandeis Superfan Club will continue on even after he graduates. He explained, “I want to fill up those bleachers every game.To keep [the club] going and just keep trying, because the [sports] culture has to change. Bottom line.”