Guest Essays, Letters to the Editor, Opinion

Guest essay: BYU is a ‘class act,’ welcome addition to Big 12

by Barb Howe

On behalf of the Goodwill City Ambassadors (Mountaineer Country Tourism Ambassadors) with the Visit Mountaineer Country Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) — we wanted to share our recent experiences with our greater community.

For those who don’t know, the Goodwill City Ambassadors organized when WVU joined the Big 12 to welcome fans of visiting teams. Since 2012, you can find our volunteers stationed around the Coliseum and Milan Puskar Stadium on WVU Football game days. We are also the friendly faces you see driving the ADA courtesy shuttles to assist both home and visiting fans seeking assistance. Due to our role, we see and hear a lot — especially from visiting fans.

As Mountaineer fans know, we welcomed Brigham Young University to the Big 12 this year, and we welcomed them to Morgantown on Nov. 4 … what a positive experience it was! Our volunteers were so impressed by the generosity of BYU fans. We have never seen others donate to the community as the BYU alumni did through their book drive for the WVU Nursery School. As a new-to-us tradition, it was explained on WAJR and in The Dominion Post that this tradition embodied BYU’s slogan of “Enter to Learn. Go Forth to Serve.”

In addition to the book drive, BYUtv handed out “Hello West Virginia” gameday buttons that featured our Mountaineer mascot during WVU’s Mountaineer Week.

As the game started, fans were surprised when a player entered carrying the West Virginia state flag — another BYU tradition new to us. The BYU coach apparently did not know we only sing “Country Roads” when we win, but the fact that the team stayed on the field and apparently even sang along with WVU fans — was another visiting team “first” and class act.

It was clear to us that the BYU community didn’t come to just play football but to make a positive contribution to our Mountaineer community. We have shared this same sentiment with BYU’s president and representatives of WVU.

Barb Howe has been an ambassador since 2012. She wrote this with assistance from the Mountaineer Country Tourism Ambassadors and the Visit Mountaineer Country Convention and Visitors Bureau.