By Jerome Foster and Alonna Artis
RICHMOND, Va. – One year ago, Virginia Commonwealth University Athletics started a membership program called the Student Ram Athletic Fund. The program’s goal is to get students to donate money in support of VCU’s sports teams.
Students pay $25 to join the program. The money goes to the Athletic Department to help cover costs.
“And that’s…how we raise the money for scholarships and it helps them get better equipment,” said Alex Fotiou, the Assistant Director of Development and Corporate Sponsorships.
“Basically, it’s a way to introduce giving back to students at a young age when they’re in school so when they become alumni, they’ll be prepared to, you know, write us a little check.”
Currently, there are about 70 members in the Student Ram Athletic Fund. VCU Athletics hopes sign up drives will increase membership to 300 by the end of the year and even more in the following years.
“James Madison, for example, they have over 2,000 students in their program and that’s what we want this to become,” Fotiou said.
VCU Athletics run the program right now, but they hope to turn the program over to the students when more students join the program. VCU Athletics wants this to happen in about five years.
The Student Ram Athletic Fund offers incentives to get students to join. These incentives include discounts to local restaurants, skipping the line at VCU men’s basketball games and social events where they meet other members.
“You meet a lot of new people,” said Mark Turner, a VCU School of Mass Communications student. “You get involved with a lot of teams.”