Perhaps the secret to the academic success of the Cougar Marching Band is there are very few secrets.

Junior Kevin Kissinger says he instantly gained almost 200 friends when he joined the group as a freshman. That kind of support system helped him stay on track and reach out for help when he needed a hand.

Troy Bennefield.

“A part of their success is that their activity requires them to organize their time,” says Troy Bennefield, director of athletic bands. “The staff and I try to make sure they know that their job here is to get a degree, and we hope that being a part of the marching band adds to their experience. Another thing we do is (try to match band members according to their needs), if there’s a freshman struggling in calculus, he or she may be marching next to a math major. We try to make sure students understand they can reach out, and really foster a family atmosphere. People are eager to help.”…

“It should be fun. They form social bonds, and I think it brings them closer to WSU as an institution. They feel like they’re part of the spirit of the university,” Bennefield says. “When they play the fight song, it’s a big part of bringing people together. They understand they can be a part of that, and they’re giving back to the university and not just getting their degrees.”

Find out more

WSU Insider