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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Dribbling for a cause

    Basketball-toting students raised about $2,000 for student scholarships and WorldCare, a local international-relief organization, at Saturdays Big Dribble around the UA Mall.
    Basketball-toting students raised about $2,000 for student scholarships and WorldCare, a local international-relief organization, at Saturday’s Big Dribble around the UA Mall.

    A few students were up at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, dribbling basketballs around the UA Mall for the chance to win a ticket and ride to yesterday’s UA-ASU men’s basketball game.

    Teams of students walked and dribbled basketballs around the Mall for 120 miles, the equivalent of the distance between the UA and Arizona State University, for the Big Dribble, a fundraising event organized by Optimi Student Foundation Honorary.

    Students raised about $2,000 for student scholarships and WorldCare, a local international-relief organization.

    Two hours and 47 laps after starting, two members of Optimi, Jade Hernandez, a pre-business sophomore, and Andrew Loeb, a business economics and entrepreneurship junior, stopped by the Cactus Garden to take a break in the shade.

    “”We’ve been dribbling in circles for hours,”” Loeb said.

    Loeb said the disappointing record of the UA men’s basketball team this season may have attributed to a lack of student participation at the event. Signed basketballs from the UA men’s and women’s teams were given to a few participants as prizes.

    Ronald Tang, president of Optimi, said about 200 students participated, including members of fraternities, sororities and student clubs.

    Stephanie Bond, a pre-business junior, participated in the event with Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity. She said she had participated in other walks and relays for charity but never while dribbling basketballs.

    “”It’s different,”” Bond said. “”They add more of a fun element. If you haven’t dribbled a basketball in a while, it’s a little awkward.””

    Eleni Miachika, a pre-business freshman, said she thought the dribbling added more of a challenge.

    “”My right hand is sore now,”” she said during the event. “”I have to use my left.””

    Gus Perez, a pre-pharmacy junior, brought his three daughters, ages 3, 6 and 9, to the event to participate with other pharmacy club students.

    “”I like them to get involved with school activities,”” Perez said. His youngest daughter led the task of dribbling for the family.

    “”She’s hogging the ball,”” Perez said.

    The idea for the fundraiser was created about five years ago, but this was the first year Optimi has been able to organize it, Tang said.

    “”We wanted to literally go to ASU while dribbling basketballs, but we spoke with law enforcement about it, and we found out that was pretty much impossible,”” Tang said.

    Half the funds raised – about $1,000 – will be given as need-based and merit-based scholarships to students next fall by the UA Foundation. The other half will go to WorldCare.

    “”We wanted to give to another charity, and we liked the fact that they did a lot in the community,”” Tang said. “”They help out in a lot of situations, and I proposed we help them out.””

    Students said they asked local businesses, community members, family and friends for donations for the event.

    The Dean of Students Office and the UA Foundation also contributed to the event, Tang said.

    Tang said he hopes Optimi can make the event an annual tradition at the UA.

    He said the highest-raising groups were Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity ($226); Chain Gang Junior Honorary ($225); and Sigma Kappa sorority and Pi Kappa Phi fraternity ($130 each).

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