Raising the bar while raising funds

Piper Funding Week gives student athletes and their programs the opportunity to campaign for a variety of expenses while connecting with their communities and families in Hamline.

Cathryn Salis, Reporter

The drive to Central High School for Hamline athletes is about 15 minutes, including packing and unloading equipment. Why would athletes at Hamline be commuting to a high school 15 minutes away? The men’s and women’s tennis teams have been driving to Central to practice on the high school’s tennis courts in lieu of using the old Hamline courts for three years. 

“They’re pretty bad, just cracked up and stuff,” said Dom Warzecha, a first-year on the men’s tennis team. “We’re gonna get them repaved so they’re nice and fresh and ready for us to practice and compete on.”

Piper Funding Week gives the tennis teams the opportunity to do just that. Both tennis teams are using this week of promotion to reach out to community members, families and their alumni network to let them know what the teams are raising money for. 

Piper Funding Week is a campaign that encourages donations for various Piper athletic programs, including the Piper Athletic Association (PAA). The PAA assists with virtual recruiting processes and many other COVID-related accommodations such as touchless water stations. Gifts towards the PAA also help support additional assistant coaches for teams to be socially distanced and offer academic support. 

This week is not just for tennis either as many different teams at Hamline are participating in the event this year, and each team participating in this campaign has specific places their donations are being put towards. Women’s lacrosse is raising funds for travel expenses, wellness speakers, dome practice time and healthy eating options. Men’s basketball is campaigning for travel gear, trips, uniforms and assistant coaches. The track team is fundraising for equipment and gear.

The men’s and women’s track teams at Hamline are unique for their size and therefore have an extensive alumni network and external community. Donors can specify on the track donation page to which event group their donation will support. One of their subcategories is strictly about shoes for their athletes.

Hamline track and field has a collaboration with a top rated running shoe store Mill City Running in Minneapolis to help athletes with the price of quality shoes. “The distance runners are always really appreciative, especially in the shoe area because they’re doing so much more running than anyone else on the team,” said Lindsey Bernardy, a junior on the track team. 

Because of COVID restrictions this year, fundraising must be done virtually, and personal touches on these outreach efforts became extremely important and useful. Some teams made videos, some made individualized cards and one popular option was a unique website for each team. 

Despite the pandemic year, Hamline athletic programs are being effective in participating in the fundraising opportunity. “This year it’s been very communicated of what the plan is,” said Yee Thao, a junior on the women’s tennis team. 

Fundraising is an important part of Hamline athletics and its ability to function and serve student athletes in the best way possible. It is necessary to the maintenance of quality equipment and facilities and giving student athletes the full Piper experience Hamline is so proud of. 

Piper pride is at the heart of Piper Funding Week, allowing athletic programs to reach out to those who support Hamline athletics an opportunity to donate if they are able. “Having a home court to play on is really important to both teams,” Warzecha said. “We’re all really excited to get home courts so we can actually represent our school.”