Student - Athletes Give Back to DU
April 11, 2011
By: Sarah Satterwhite 

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Student-athletes at the University of Denver are not waiting until they graduate to give back to their alma mater; they’re doing it now.

Student-athletes at the University of Denver are not waiting until they graduate to give back to their alma mater; they’re doing it now.

Last year, 88% of student-athletes made a financial gift to DU through the Pioneer PRIDE Fund. PRIDE stands for Pioneers Reinvesting In Denver Excellence. The Fund was established to encourage student-athletes to show their support of the University, and it has grown remarkably over the past few years.

“These students understand the great opportunities given to them by DU – scholarships, outstanding education, a fantastic coaching staff, countless athletic opportunities – and giving back to the University is one way they show their pride,” says Pam Wettig, Senior Associate Athletics Director and Director of Annual Giving.

Kacie Wikierak, a DU senior on the women’s volleyball team and a member of the Executive Board of the Student-Athlete Advisory Council, sees annual giving by student-athletes as an extension of their participation in the life of the University.

“DU student-athletes not only give their blood, sweat, and tears on the court and in the classroom, but also enhance their university by making annual monetary contributions,” says Wikierak. “Student-athletes at DU are committed to reinvesting in their athletic program due to the wonderful opportunities it provides. The donations of these pioneering student-athletes also reflect their appreciation for the alumni, supporters, and staff who generously contribute. Being a DU Pioneer is a special privilege that we hope continues for generations to come.”

Student involvement in the Pioneer PRIDE Fund has increased since the Fund’s inception in the early 2000s. The program started making strides in 2005, fiscal year 2009 saw a 51% involvement by student-athletes, and that number increased to 88% in fiscal year 2010. The goal is 100% participation by students, says Wettig. Currently 100% of the athletics staff members give back to DU.

“We encourage participation so that the students will experience the importance of giving back, even at this stage in their lives,” says Wettig. “Additionally, it’s good to be able to tell our alumni and our non-student donors about our students’ remarkable involvement in giving to DU.”

When students make a gift to the University through the Pioneer Pride Fund, those funds are administered by the Student-Athlete Advisory Council in consultation with a staff member. Last year, the Council used the funds to buy a printer and supplies for the quiet room in the Ritchie Center so that student-athletes who study there would have those resources easily available.

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