SUNY Plattsburgh’s fifth annual “Game on For Giving” concluded its donation period Feb. 15. The event was created as a joint effort between the Institutional Advancement Staff and the SUNY Plattsburgh Athletics Department. It serves as a way for alumni and other community members to stay engaged while the university is also able to raise money for the sports teams.
The first year of “Game on For Giving” took place on Valentine’s Day, where it developed the slogan, “show your love for Cardinal Athletics.” But, it quickly evolved into a two-week campaign in the following years. Mike Howard, director of intercollegiate athletics, has been at Plattsburgh for five years and has seen the program at its start and watched it grow.
“I was asked ‘How many donors do you think you can get?’ I said, ‘Well, I’d like to think 500 is a reasonable number to start with.’ I remember there was some skepticism that, ‘Well, are you sure you can get 500 ‘cause that’s a lot the first time out?’ We exceeded 500 and I think surprised some people that we did that,” Howard said.
1,940 supporters donated to the cause this year. More than $81,000 was raised to support the teams. The donations go toward making improvements to fields and facilities, purchasing new equipment, travel and apparel.
This year, “Game on for Giving” started Feb. 1 and ended Feb. 15. The event fosters healthy competition between the sports teams. The team with the most donors takes possession of the Cardinal Cup trophy. This year, the team with the most overall donors was awarded $1,000. Additionally, the team that gets the most alumni donors was awarded $2,000 and the remaining $2,000 goes to whoever achieves the highest percentage increase in alumni donors compared to last year’s event.
The women’s soccer team won the Cardinal Cup trophy this year, for the third year in a row. They had 505 total donors, 230 of which were alumni. Therefore, they also placed first in the alumni donor challenge earning them another $3,000 provided by Cardinal Hall of Famer Richard Semmler from the Class of 1968.
“Because of our extremely generous alumn, we were able to really have some fun with it starting three years ago and then we’ve kind of just tried to defend the title ever since,” Head Women’s Soccer Coach Tania Armellino said.
Senior Abbie Seamans, who plays midfield on the women’s soccer team, was excited about the team’s third win, “I think it’s really awesome for our program. It’s definitely helpful for everything that we do during season and out of season. I think it just kinda shows our commitment to Plattsburgh State Athletics as a whole,” she said.
She also spoke on the ways she was encouraged to find individuals willing to donate.
“Our coaches are actually advocate with us. They are constantly sending us pictures to use. They really just show us how important it is to our program and to our school, which really motivates us to wanna get more donors,” Seamans said.
Howard spoke on the importance of keeping alumni engaged with the athletic department throughout the year.
“It’s not just a one time, ‘Hey, we’re asking you to give some money.’ We’re trying to engage them throughout the entire year and the more success we’ve had with that, the more success this campaign has had,” Howard said.
SUNY Plattsburgh alumni often connect the teams to other individuals wanting to donate and support the athletics department. Howard said there are many fans of SUNY Plattsburgh in the North Country who also donate, so the cause becomes a whole community effort.
Armellino believes “Game on For Giving” is an event SUNY Plattsburgh should continue.
“By supporting your team and the department, you’re supporting the university and I think it just continues to highlight Plattsburgh State [and] highlight Plattsburgh State athletics,” Armellino said.