Twirling dreams into existence: UI students start Color Guard club

Joslyn Hagener and Haley Burton are two UI students with a shared love for color guard, and now they’re bringing their passions to campus with a new student organization.


Alyson Kuennen

Color Guard Club Vice President, Haley Burton (left), and President, Joslyn Hagener, pose for a portrait at Hubbard Park on Monday, April 29, 2019. The new club will start classes and practices next fall for students of all experience levels to join.

Josie Fischels, News Reporter

With the setting sun in their eyes, University of Iowa sophomore Joslyn Hagener and junior Haley Burton spun yellow flags and rifles in Hubbard Park after a meeting April 29 regarding their launch of the University of Iowa’s first color guard student organization.

As students of one of only two Big Ten universities to not offer a color guard student organization or team on their marching band, Hagener and Burton, club president and vice president respectively, teamed up after a conversation they had over dinner at the beginning of the school year to start a color guard team for students of all skill levels.

“I think it’s an important thing to have here,” said Hagener, who transferred from the University of Northern Iowa last year. “Iowa State has one in its band, UNI has one in its band — that’s why I went there.”

Both students enjoyed doing several years of color guard and winter guard in high school, and they said they found it disappointing that the UI didn’t offer any such opportunities. Hagener said they have worked to get one approved by the UI since Thanksgiving.

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While the club will not be official until paperwork is completed in the fall, Hagener and Burton said they are excited to see all the interest they have gained since sending out a mass email about their club to students. A total of 35 students attended the first meeting, and both club leaders received several emails from other interested students who were unable to attend.

“I’m so excited there are so many people,” Burton said. “I texted my mom.”

All that is required to join the club are a 6-foot flagpole, a plain-colored silk, and a club payment of $10 to $20, Burton said. Those interested are also welcome to purchase or bring their own rifle, which are commonly used during performances.

To help pay for costs of equipment and space-rental fees, Hagener and Burton hope to raise funds or approach University of Iowa Student Government for funding not covered by the club fee.

To begin, the two plan on appointing an executive team of students to help them with finances and coaching new members. From there, Hagener and Burton have big plans for their new student club, including performance opportunities year-round on campus and the organization of a traveling competition team that students can audition for in the fall.

“Right now, we’re just trying to establish the winter guard aspect,” Burton said. “Hopefully, [we can] make it integrated into the band, because I think that’s what people usually see when they think color guard.”

Zoey Jenkins, a UI freshman who performed in her high school’s color guard before it ended because of lack of interest, said she is excited to relearn an activity she had forgotten about over the years.

“I just really wanted to try it again, mostly just learning the basics again,” she said. “When I got the email that they sent out, I was really excited that I could give it another shot.”