If there’s one constant in University residence life, it’s the ever-upbeat Goon Squad. The University’s official greeters, the indispensable “Goons” literally and figuratively extend a hand when apprehensive first-year students arrive at their residence halls each fall.|
“We’re all volunteers,” explains Sarah Nels ’01, a two-year veteran of the Goon Squad, which currently numbers about 200 students. “Some of us are goofy and funny, while others just bring their muscles. On Opening Weekend, we carry luggage, show freshmen where to go, and welcome people to the University. We answer a million questions. Parents sit us down on the bed and quiz us about our experiences. They seem to feel that if you’re a good kid, their kid is in a good place.
"It’s like a big party,” Nels adds. “There’s music and barbecue all day long. At the end of the day, you’re very tired. But it’s a good tired. You’ve given something back to the University. You’ve helped someone at a crazy time in their lives.”
Lori Zisk Rosner ’76, G’77 has indelible memories of her first encounter with the Goon Squad. “I still remember their orange Jiminy Cricket shirts. I was so amazed by their spirit,” says Rosner, who was later known as “Mama Goon” for her central role in the organization.
"There were 500 Goons in my day,” Rosner reports. “On Opening Weekend we would paint an orange stripe down the center of University Avenue. On Parents Weekend, about 50 of us would put on a show in Crouse College, spoofing the stereotypes of students and families. I’ll never forget how much fun it was, and how good it felt to help the freshmen through that scary experience.”
DENISE OWEN HARRIGAN