CSUF’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee collects coins for pediatric cancer charity

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The Student Athlete Advisory Committee started collecting coins Monday as part of a returning competition between Big West Schools to benefit various charitable causes.
The competition—the 8th annual Big West Coin Drive—runs through February.

During this time, the committee must set up a location on campus to collect coins for their chosen charity.

Three-quarters of the money raised will be donated to the school’s charity, and the other 25 percent will go to the winning institution’s charity, according to the Big West Conference website.

Cal State Fullerton has previously donated its funds to the Orangewood Children’s Foundation, which devotes its resources to children who have suffered neglect, abuse or abandonment.

This will be the first year the committee donates funds to a different cause, the Pediatric Cancer Research foundation.

“I think that this year we wanted to expand the horizon of who we’re donating to, and cancer research—especially pediatric cancer research—found me close to home,” said Adriana Gjonovich, vice president of the committee.

Pam Newton, life skills coordinator for Titan Athletics, said the committee wanted to support adolescents fighting cancer in the hopes of providing better opportunities for the patients. The connection between a young cancer patient and the athletes made the charity choice appropriate.

“To be able to support someone young that has cancer that could possibly beat it and then be an athlete, maybe, or a doctor or whatever they choose was really a key point to wanting to pick the pediatric cancer foundation,” Newton said.

Midway through February, CSUF student athletes will raise awareness on the Titan Walk by educating the student population about the research foundation, Gjonovich said.
Athletes will also be collecting donations from class-to-class in hopes of reaching their $5,000 goal.

“We’ve encouraged athletes to bring their buckets to their classes and ask their teachers if they can announce it, because we have 30,000 kids on this campus,” she said. “That’s potentially a lot of money coming from this school to not only have that pride in supporting your athletic team in a competition, but also donating to a good cause.”

Cal State Fullerton has never raised more than $2,000 in the eight years it has participated in the competition. That’s a low amount for CSUF, being one of the largest campuses in the Big West, Gjonovich said.

“There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to raise more money than that, so we’re putting our efforts—kind of like the same effort we put into practice and school—we’re putting that into fundraising for Titan athletics and for the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation,” Gjonovich said.

Newton said the Student Athlete Advisory Committee is an important part of athletics because it’s the only voice the athletes have in order to make change.

“My energy and passion says that we can do more—they wanted to do more—now I’m going to help be the voice to make sure that we get it out there and that people know that we’re here to support not only our athletic department, but also our charity,” she said.

Newton will have a decorated jar available in her office in Langsdorf Hall room 219B for anyone lacking a direct connection with the athletic department who would like to donate.

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