WSU Athletics raises over $300,000 during weekend-long fundraising event

Coug Guys and Gals has more than 35 undergraduate students who assist WSU Athletics

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COURTESY OF OLIVIA BUSH

Three events — one each in Spokane, Tri-Cities and the Seattle area — raised $300,000 for student-athlete scholarships and WSU Athletics.

PUNEET BSANTI

WSU Athletics, along with Coug Guys and Gals, put on a multi-location, weekend-long event called Night with Cougar Athletics starting Feb. 18 and raised over $300,000.

The events — which happened in Spokane, Tri-Cities and the Seattle area — raised money for WSU Athletics as well as student-athlete scholarships, said Timber Hunt, Coug Guys and Gals vice president of administration. 

“I believe Seattle was over $200,000 alone in money raised for student-athletes,” Hunt said. 

The events in Spokane and Tri-Cities raised over $100,000, and those who play a Pac-12 sport at WSU are eligible for a scholarship, said Olivia Bush, Coug Guys and Gals president. 

Head football coach Jake Dickert joined the volunteers who helped put on the events, Bush said.

Coug Guys and Gals are ambassadors for WSU Athletics and are made up of more than 35 WSU undergraduate students, according to their website. The organization assists in hosting activities for WSU Athletics whether that is a sports game or conferences. 

Coug Guys and Gals helped set up the event and made sure everything ran smoothly behind the scenes, Bush said. 

“Basically [donors] would fly in on a private plane into a private airport, and then I would arrange for people to go and pick them up,” Hunt said. 

While they were in charge of running many aspects of the events, the volunteers ate the food that was served and got to experience the event as if they were attending it, Bush said. 

During the events, WSU Athletics representatives talked to the audience about what they stand for and played a video of freshman soccer goalie Nadia Cooper who lost her mom because of COVID-19 in the middle of the season. Cooper talked about how being on the team helped her with that loss and how her teammates always help lift her spirits. Cooper also talked about how the scholarships helped her and her father, Hunt said. 

The events had silent auctions, live bidding and “raise the paddle,” which is a program where the money goes specifically to scholarships for athletes. The presenter said a certain amount of money and donors raised their paddle if they wanted to donate that amount, Bush said.

“I remember the first night we were in Spokane he started at $12,000, and I was standing right behind the guy that raised his number, and I just felt like as a college student you don’t think someone would just donate $12,000,” Bush said. “It made me almost tear up every single time.”