Playing for a cause

Five WSU students brought community members and athletes together to help a fellow Coug pay it forward.

As a capstone class project, Joseph Wright, James Laurine, Connor Lamoureux, Jordan Hudson, and A.J. Tullo hosted a bingo night to raise money for Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington.

The five Sports Management 489 students reached out to the local Make-A-Wish Foundation chapter and WSU Athletics to help CougCenter co-founder and managing editor Jeff Nusser give back what his son Trystian received last year: money for a trip to Disneyland.

Wright said the goal was to plan and execute an event related to sports that would benefit a local charity.

Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington grant about 300 wishes every year. The fundraiser through CougCenter has raised more than $11,000 for the organization, and the sports management students wanted to further help the cause with their event.

WSU senior Sam Ewer worked as a bingo caller for the event, and said the night was the perfect opportunity to get involved and unite multiple groups for a cause.

“I know we Cougs just look at each other and really build a community even further,” Ewer said.

Kimberly Carper, a wish-granter for Make-A-Wish, spoke to participants of the event to educate and inspire them about raising money for granting children’s wishes.

“I think it is a fabulous idea,” Carper said. “There are so many students here who have energy and excitement. We are absolutely thrilled to have campus excitement for Make-A-Wish.”

She said university students can still remember what it was like to be a kid and can now support children who are ill.

“These kids don’t get a childhood,” Carper said. “It’s more doctors’ appointments and not going to school because they’re sick. I think university students can relate to that and say ‘Hey, everybody needs a chance to be a kid.’”

Winners of bingo games throughout the night won sports memorabilia, clothing and autographed Cougar gear.

WSU freshman Dario Smith was a bingo winner at the event and said being involved to help grant future wishes was worth the price.

“I want to support what they’re doing here,” Smith said.

The students coordinating the event contacted multiple branches of WSU sports and invited several athletes in to attend the event.

“The sports environment at WSU is so big,” Wright said. “It’s easier to get a buy-in from the community when there are athletes there.”