Last year, while Megan Kicks, senior public relations major, didn’t participate in Air Jam, she helped out by watching and critiquing her team’s performances during practices.
This year, however, she is in charge of her sorority Pi Beta Phi’s (PBP) team in the annual Homecoming dance competition between various on-campus organizations.
“I’m really excited,” Kicks said. “Basically, [we] just want to make the alumni proud. We’ve been putting in a lot of hard work, and we started practicing early this year.”
Eleven of this year’s 19 Air Jam teams represent a fraternity, sorority or a pairing of the two. Last year, PBP paired with with Alpha Tau Omega (ATO) and was named the Greek winner of the competition.
Kicks said this year, her sorority will be pairing with Phi Kappa Psi for the event. She said the team has been practicing for two hours twice a week for around a month.
Air Jam 2019 participants:
Ball State Dance Marathon
Operation Black Out
RedPrint Step Team
Rhythms Dance Troupe
University Program Board
Alpha Chi Omega/Phi Delta Theta
Alpha Gamma Delta/Sigma Alpha Epsilon
Alpha Omicron Pi/Phi Gamma Delta
Alpha Phi/Delta Tau Delta
Delta Sigma Pi
Kappa Delta/Phi Sigma Kappa
Phi Mu/Lambda Chi Alpha
Pi Beta Phi/Phi Kappa Psi
Sigma Kappa/Pi Kappa Phi
“I just really enjoyed getting to know and getting closer with the girls on the team and also just with Phi Psi as well,” Kicks said. “It’s just been a really good experience, and I know that we’ll all stay friends afterwards as well.”
While she doesn’t consider the Air Jam event the most important one for Greek Life, Kicks said it is still important for a different reason.
“I really like how it involves everyone,” she said. “Making relationships with other chapters that we wouldn’t have talked to as much before I think is important.”
With the lessons the PBP team learned from its performance last year, Kicks said they have a better understanding of the time frame for arranging props this year.
“Since it is all different girls, it’s going to be a different routine [with] different music,” Kicks said. “But I think we’re preparing the same and taking it just as seriously as the girls did last year.”
David Apple, president of ATO, said in an email that winning Air Jam last year was huge for the fraternity, which practiced for approximately a month with PBP to perfect their routine.
He said Air Jam is one of the biggest events for the Greek community and that it means a lot for his fraternity in particular.
“I cannot speak for all of Greek Life, but based upon the attendance of current undergraduates and alumni of Greek Life in the audience, it appears as if it means a lot,” Apple said. “It demonstrated just the beginning of how involved we want to be in the Greek community and on campus.”
While Apple said ATO will not participate in Air Jam this year, he said members will be in attendance to support other participating teams.
Apple said motivation for student organizations to participate in the Air Jam event “is something that comes from within.”
“I would encourage the leadership within chapters to encourage their members to compete and explain the significance of the history of Air Jam, how much fun it really is and the lasting impression you can make on that stage,” he said.
Hanna Kadinger, president of the Homecoming Steering Committee and member of the Alpha Omicron Pi sorority, said only 20 teams registered to participate in this year’s Air Jam event, down from 22 last year, which eliminated the need for a drawing to choose the teams.
However, the committee did have a drawing for the choice of song, Kadinger said, especially because “Truth Hurts” by Lizzo was the most requested song by participating teams.
“[Air Jam] is a way for people to kind of let loose and show their goofy side as opposed to the more formal Talent Search,” Kadinger said. “It draws a really big crowd too.”
Contact Rohith Rao with comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @RaoReports.