When Joe Hagerty came to the University of Nebraska at Omaha in the fall of 2012, the student organization that stood out to him most was Maverick Maniacs.
Hagerty, who is from Springfield, Nebraska, had a friend from high school who first introduced him to the group. When Hagerty joined the Maverick Maniacs in 2012, the organization had only existed for a year.
After the initial leaders graduated, Hagerty took over as president of the organization. His first measure was to recruit anyone with a passion for promoting student involvement across the UNO campus.
Since Hagerty joined the Maverick Maniacs, the group has grown from five people to around 100 members. This includes his sister, Leah Hagerty, a junior at UNO studying recreation administration.
In December 2016, Hagerty graduated with a marketing degree. Next fall, he will start a master’s program in Counseling and Student Affairs at UNO.
Hagerty said his passion for student involvement led him to apply for graduate school.
“I told myself I would never go to grad school, but if I did, I would go into student affairs,” Hagerty said. “After interviewing for multiple jobs, I couldn’t see myself doing marketing 40 hours a week, but I could totally see myself doing student affairs 80 hours a week and not feel like I’m working.”
Hagerty will continue to be involved with Maverick Maniacs as a graduate assistant under Bill Pickett, UNO director of student involvement.
To prepare for his new role, Hagerty has trained two associate vice presidents, Michael Spelts and Joel Wagman, to take over various day-to-day duties of Maverick Maniacs such as event planning.
Spelts, a sophomore majoring in aviation with a concentration in professional flight, said Joe has helped him ever since he joined the organization his freshman year.
“Joe was more than just a leader for me,” Spelts said. “He’s pretty much been a mentor.”
Spelts said Hagerty has been one of his closest friends even outside of Maverick Maniacs.
“He’s a great guy to be around,” Spelts said. “He has made me a better person and he tries his hardest to make everybody feel included.”
When he first became president of Maverick Maniacs, Hagerty said he would lie in bed in the early morning hours thinking of ways to improve school spirit and build the group’s membership.
“For me, the vision went even farther than I thought it would,” Hagerty said. “It has grown big enough to where now the campus as a whole recognizes us as something more than a student organization.”
The members of Maverick Maniacs are known for building excitement at games through chants and signs. They also organize bus trips to away games, plan student spirit activities and promote school involvement on campus as well as through social media.
Hagerty said he sees Maverick Maniacs as an extension of athletics. Through school spirit, he hopes to promote the university and help increase enrollment at UNO.
A recent milestone for Hagerty and Maverick Maniacs was UNO’s victory in the National Collegiate Student Section Association competition. In order to encourage people to vote for UNO as the nation’s best collegiate student section, Maverick Maniacs and other student involvement groups marketed the competition across campus, Omaha and the state of Nebraska.
Hagerty said UNO’s title as best student section shows the university’s progress in terms of athletics and school spirit.
“I think it will show people that we truly are a force in Division I for not only athletics but also for the involvement pieces that we have,” Hagerty said. “To be able to say that we’re number one in something that’s a student-run organization is a pretty cool thing.”
Spelts said Hagerty has played a large role in the growth of school spirit and Maverick Maniacs.
“He definitely cares about the Maniacs and the university,” Spelts said. “Probably without Joe, we wouldn’t have as strong of an organization as we do today.”
Hagerty said the group is built around friendships and fun-filled activities. The members enjoy going out to eat and watching movies together.
Hagerty and Spelts were roommates earlier this year, and sometimes they go longboarding in the streets of Omaha.
In addition to spending time with other members of Maverick Maniacs, Hagerty enjoys watching movies and college football. He said he is very competitive in any activity, whether he is playing ultimate Frisbee or a board game with friends.
Hagerty said his experiences with Maverick Maniacs will help him pursue his goal to be a director of student involvement at a university.
“Eventually I would like to run an office where I’m able to work with students on a daily basis,” Hagerty said. “I want to interact with them and really be able to help them in whatever way that I can.”