SPIRIT Campaign hosts tailgate fundraiser on the Quad

The SPIRIT Campaign is hosting a tailgate fundraiser Saturday at the Mississippi State game in order to raise money for first-generation college students.

The tailgate will start at 11 a.m. and continue throughout the game. The tent will be near Amelia Gayle Gorgas Library and will be made visible by people holding signs and flyers.

“We’ll have people roaming around the Quad and going to other tailgates,” said Zac Corbett, a member of the organization. “We’ll just be set up where people can come find out what the SPIRIT campaign is and make donations.”

The group will be looking for donations of $1 or $2 from each student who wants to attend.

The SPIRIT Campaign, which was organized in 2005, works to conduct fundraisers to raise money for scholarships for first-generation college students.

“The SPIRIT campaign's various fundraisers have changed from school year to year, but in 2010-2011 it will be largely based around the student community and various activities, such as the tailgate at the Mississippi State game,” said James Ludwig, deputy director of the campaign.

Ludwig also said the campaign wants to lessen the financial burden some first-generation student’s families may feel.

“When you look at the first-generation students that come here, they are all very well-educated, hard workers, have good grades and ACT scores,” Ludwig said. “But if you go to a school like UA, especially if you’re from out of state, it’s still expensive. This is where we come in with scholarships so first-generation students can improve their lives and their family can progress [educationally].”

Blaine Davis, a sophomore majoring in political science and economics and a first-generation college student, said he appreciates the work that the SPIRIT Campaign does.

Davis’ father grew up in a low-income household. After graduating from high school, he chose to work instead of attending college.

“That had an impact on his life in that it had an impact on his children,” Davis said. “He has always been the type of person that wanted to provide a better life for me and my family than he had.”

While Davis’ college education was financed through scholarships he received for his ACT score, he says his siblings may not have the same opportunities and that he is grateful for the options provided by the SPIRIT Campaign.

“People coming out of [low-income] households don’t always have the same opportunities at a college education that people from wealthier families have,” Davis said. “To level that playing field and extend that opportunity to more people is a great initiative.”

Davis said he also appreciates the work the SPIRIT Campaign does to help first-generation students, such as programs to teach resume writing and interview skills.

“It’s good knowing there is something out there that exists to give some help for first-generation students,” Davis said. “Scholarships will go a long way in making them more encouraged and motivated to pursue a college degree.”

The group will also host a booth in the Ferguson Student Center Nov. 16, 18, 19 and 22 to 23 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. They will have a card-swipe machine so students can use Bama Cash to donate to the scholarship fund. They will also accept cash.

The goal is to raise $1,000 over this semester and $6,000 over the whole year.

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