Marquette Wire

Athletics, Communication class partner to crowdfund for student athletes

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Photo by Matt Kulling / matthew.kulling@marquette.edu

Photo by Matt Kulling / matthew.kulling@marquette.edu

Photo by Matt Kulling / matthew.kulling@marquette.edu

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A partnership between Marquette’s Athletics Department and an advertising and public relations class in the College of Communication is pulling together crowdfunding to allow student athletes to play their sport while traveling abroad.

But the campaign is already raising eyebrows of non-athlete students.

“It makes sense that they could use the extra help, since their sports make it difficult for them to have jobs on campus to save for study abroad,” said Samantha Jacquet, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences who studied abroad in London last spring. “But at the same time, I think everyone should have a chance to study abroad without having to break the bank.”

Marquette does not offer any aid or scholarships specifically to help students study abroad, which stands against the norm for other Jesuit institutions of the same size or for schools in Wisconsin.

“Marquette’s crowdfunding campaigns have supported all types of students with opportunities abroad. It has also supported the Office of International Education,” said Tim Cigelske, who teaches the advertising and public relations class, labeled ADPR 4953. “These projects have grown funding, scholarships and awareness for business students teaching entrepreneurship in developing countries, engineering robotics students competing in Brazil and student athletes representing Marquette on the global stage, among many others.”

Athletic Director Bill Scholl said in a prepared statement that student athletes are unique because of their time commitments.

“We are committed to providing the most enriching experiences to our student athletes and the opportunity to experience other cultures while team building is something we wish to continue to provide.” Scholl said.

Scholl was unable to respond for further comment beyond his prepared statement.

ADPR 4953 requires teams of two or three students to create and implement a social media strategy for nine different media projects. Besides the international travel fund, Cigelske said other projects are working with Engineers Without Borders, the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service and the Human Powered Nebulizer.

The crowd-funding campaign for student athletes runs from April 9 to April 30 and has a goal of raising $2,500.

It raised $235 as of Monday, about 9 percent of the goal. Incentives to give money include an Al McGuire Center tour for a $250 donation, a 2011 signed Marquette basketball senior day poster for $500 and a lunch with Scholl for $1,000.

Other crowd-funding campaigns in the class have already pulled in bigger portions of their goal. A campaign to support a Triathlon Team for Youth Empowered to Succeed, a program that works to help at-risk Hispanic youth, already raised almost $2,500, or 41 percent of its $6,050 goal. The Human Powered Nebulizer, which set out to raise $10,000 for lung-related illnesses, collected more than $1,800.

“The social media campaign isn’t just about donations, but also sharing the mission of each project, in this case what student athletes do at Marquette,” Cigelske said. “The idea is if you tell your story in a compelling and personal way, your audience will want to support you.”

“The campaigns allow students to get hands-on with some real world projects as they learn and apply data analytics,” Cigelske added.

He also said the money raised will go toward travel costs and is not geared to go to any specific teams, but to generally support teams competing on the global stage.

One student who already had this opportunity is Lauren Tibbs, a red-shirt junior center on the women’s basketball team who traveled to Europe last summer, playing four games throughout France and Italy over a 10-day span. Tibbs is also one of the ADPR 4953 students working on the fund and has had a first-hand experience to the benefits of traveling abroad

“Athletes don’t usually get to do things like study abroad because of the time they have to commit to their sports,” Tibbs said. “Through a trip like this they are able to experience what it’s like to be in a different culture, to interact with people who speak a different language, and to learn about everything from history, to art and politics. I learned lessons there that will stay with my long after I step off the basketball court for the last time.”

Marquette men’s basketball will be taking a similar trip abroad to France and Italy in August.

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