Members of Mustang11 have SMU pride written all over their faces on gameday. Using temporary tattoos, plenty of paint and heaps of imagination, they show off their true colors on The Boulevard and at Ford Stadium during football home games.
Ponies and polka dots, stars and stripes, letters and numbers – almost anything fun and fanciful goes when it comes to “painting up” for the game, according to McNair Scholar Adrieanna (Adrie) Reyes ’18, an SMU junior psychology major who is president and one of two directors of Mustang11.
“We encourage our members to be as creative as possible,” she says. “We sometimes pick themes, but we also follow campus traditions like the white-out for the first home game. A few members will also make or buy costumes, which is always fun to see.”
These true-blue super fans support their favorite team in other ways as well. Mustang11 has worked closely with SMU Athletics to become more involved in the gameday experience.
“We now hold a flag ceremony with the football team, where they pass on the ‘Lock Arms’ flag to us when they arrive on The Boulevard before heading to Ford Stadium. We bring the flag with us to the stadium and hang it alongside the other flags,” Adrie explains. “Our members also take part in the parade with the band and cheer on the field before the game starts, then run with the football team out of the tunnel and into the student section, where we stand in the front row for the entire game.”
Mustang11 isn’t new to campus – it was a committee of the Nineteen11 student spirit group that was active during the University’s centennial years – but is now celebrating its inaugural year as a fully chartered student organization. The group brings new SMU students together to foster Mustang spirit and hone leadership skills they will apply to other endeavors across campus.
“Students have to apply and go through an interview process, which includes group activities and one-on-one interviews,” she says. “We pick students who we believe will be leaders on campus and help them grow their potential.”
Members gather at the Mustang11 tent on The Boulevard to get their game faces on well before kickoff, and other first-year and transfer students are invited to stop by and hang out.
Beyond the face paint and merriment, the group’s Mustang spirit serves a more serious mission by providing a support system for the football team, Adrie says.
“We aren’t just cheering on a team. These are our friends, classmates and fellow Mustangs,” she explains. “We’re there to show them that we care about the work they put in on and off the field. Being spirited means you’ll be there until the end of the game, no matter the score, the rivalry or even the insane Texas weather.”