UAF Athletics aims to get ahead of financial obstacles with new campaign

Published: Aug. 28, 2020 at 7:39 PM AKDT
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Athletic programs within the University of Alaska System has been threatened with cuts over recent years as Alaska attempts to grapple the state budget.

Last week, the University of Alaska Anchorage proposed to eliminate four programs, including hockey. UAA Chancellor Cathy Sandeen will seek University of Alaska Board of Regents’ approval for the proposed cuts during the Sept. 10-11, 2020, meeting.

The day prior to UAA’s announcement, the University of Alaska Fairbanks created a new position solely focusing on fundraising for athletics. Judy Dellinger will serve as the development officer for intercollegiate athletics, “working closely with the athletics administrative staff and coaches to facilitate the execution of fundraising systems, develop new strategies, and identify and interact closely with key stakeholders and program ambassadors,” stated in the press release.

On Thursday, the first project was launched with the Sru’ol Campaign, “a fundraiser to seek financial support for our most critical areas of need including recruiting, retaining student-athletes and providing scholarships for tuition, books, housing and dining services,” described in the press release.

The university sites revenue loss from the impacts of COVID-19 as the push behind the initiative.

“The landscape of intercollegiate athletics has been impacted in a way we never imaged it would be impacted,” said UAF Vice Chancellor Keith Champagne. “This is a major campaign launched on behalf of Nanook Athletics to increase fundraising and to make Nanook Nation aware that we have some financial challenges and we need help and we are seeking help from whomever has the ability to help us at this point.”

In response to UAA proposing to cut four sports, UAF Chancellor Dan White expressed his commitment to Alaska Nanook Programs, ensuring that there were no plans to eliminate any of their 10 athletic programs.

The word “Sru’ol” is the Lower Tanana Dene Athabascan word for “sport” or “game”.

“We have been working to uphold, to celebrate, embrace, infuse and embed Alaska Native and Indigenous culture into our athletics program,” added Champagne. “We sit here at the University of Alaska Fairbanks on ceded land, it is the Troth Yeddha’ campus. So we just want to celebrate, acknowledge and lift up the language and culture and the history of our Alaska Native community.”

The university continues to work with conferences in their respective sports on how to approach upcoming seasons.

Donations to the Sru’ol Campaign can be sent here.

Copyright 2020 KTVF. All rights reserved.

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