March Mania fundraising campaign makes its mark

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The Lehigh Athletics March Mania giving campaign was held from March 26-April 2. This year’s event set an all-time record, having 1,354 donors and raising $539,967.

The event rallies support for Lehigh Athletics to elevate its abilities and raise funds within the department. Its campaign motto is “come together as a family, past and present.”

All the athletic teams are separated into five divisions, with each team competing to win $2,000 that would go toward its team budget. The Packer Division consisted of men’s lacrosse, men’s soccer, football and wrestling. Men’s lacrosse won the division.

Junior offensive lineman Alex Motley said he fully supports the campaign.

“March Mania is an important and exciting time for Lehigh athletics because it’s one of the significant events that raises the most money for our sports teams,” Motley said. “It means a lot to me because a lot of the funds that are raised go directly toward my respective team and program.”

The Goodman Division was comprised of field hockey, women’s golf, women’s lacrosse and women’s tennis. Women’s lacrosse won the division.

Men’s basketball, baseball, men’s golf and men’s tennis competed in the Grace Division, and the men’s basketball team came out on top with 8.09 percent of its former players donating.

Junior guard Jordan Cohen said both former and current athletes are very invested in their respective programs.

“March Mania allows us to connect with our alumni and see how much of a family Lehigh basketball really is,” Cohen said. “We get to see how many basketball alumni still care about the program and keep tabs on us.”

Cohen said the alumni are competitive with one another and still feel connected to the team. Motley agreed and said the campaign also builds school spirit in addition to strengthening alumni relations.

In the Taylor Division, women’s basketball won the overall competition with 32.34 percent of former athletes donating. Softball, volleyball, and women’s soccer also competed.

Junior guard Hannah Hedstrom said current players can also donate.

“For current athletes like me, I think our contribution to the campaign shows we are bought in and appreciate others who can give more,” Hedstrom said. “It shows we understand the importance.”

In the Linderman Division, rowing, cross country track and field and swimming and diving competed. Rowing won the competition having 6.80 percent of its alumni donating.

Junior sprint and mid-distance runner Ryan Paradise said his team writes letters to their donors every year to show how grateful they are for the support that they have.

“Our team comes together to show appreciation during this week,” Paradise said. “It’s awesome to see how many people on our team recognize our donors’ support just by making a small sacrifice themselves, given that we are all low-budgeted college students.”

Paradise said there is an increased awareness of how important the alumni are and what they do behind the scenes to support the athletes who are competing now.

Hedstrom agreed and said the March Mania campaign allowed her team to realize that being a part of the Lehigh family lasts long after you graduate.

“I think it is a reflection of the ongoing relationship with alumni,” Hedstrom said. “The donating money aspect is just a part of creating a partnership with people who have been Lehigh students and athletes for life.”

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