In case you didn’t get your basketball fix during the regular season, there’s one more game at Connolly Center this spring that should not be missed: the Swishes for Wishes basketball game. Not only is this game a friendly (but fierce) competition between Seattle University students and faculty, but it’s also a nebula of school spirit and a fundraiser for the Make-a-Wish Foundation. “It’s really a blast,” said Erin Engelhardt, Seattle U assistant athletic director, who is involved with Swishes for Wishes through her role as the faculty advisor for the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). “The whole goal is to just have fun and fundraise for Make-a-Wish. We always have a representative from Make-a-Wish come and talk to the crowd about their experience. Usually we have an alum whose daughter was a wish kid.” The fundraising starts in the weeks leading up to the event, with the ‘Penny Wars’ that go on around campus. In this fundraising challenge, coins are collected throughout the residence halls, with a prize for the floor
that raises the most money. “We really appreciate the help of RHA and Housing for allowing us to do that year after year,” Engelhardt said. “Some years we’ve raised up to 600 to 1000 dollars just in coins.” Overall, the event aims to raise about 2500 dollars this year. According to Kristen James, a student-athlete and one of the co-chairs for the event, the additional funds will be collected from suggested at-the-door-donations, donations from the faculty and students who sign up to play and additional collections during the game. “I want students to know that the game benefits the Make-a-Wish foundation,” said James. “They should come because it’s going to be a lot of fun. We’ve worked very hard to make it entertaining, and of course, it’s for a good cause because all the money that we raise is going to go to the Make-a-Wish foundation.” The student and faculty players are all volunteers. The co-chairs encourage diversity among players by reaching out to different clubs and organizations on campus to make sure as many groups as possible are represented. Whether or not student-athletes can play is up to the individual coaches, but the Seattle U basketball players are not allowed to sign up and will instead serve as referees during the game. “We really try to make sure there’s somebody from student government, and some of the cultural clubs, things like that,” Engelhardt said. “There are a lot of faculty and staff who have played almost every year, or as much as they possibly can, and they’re a lot of fun.” According to Engelhardt, Tim Leary will be coaching the faculty team, while Student Government President Eric Chalmers coaches the student team. Patrick Murphy and Eddie Lincoln are some of the well-known faculty members who will be participating again this year. In addition to an exciting game, there will be plenty of other entertainment at the event. These include performances by the cheer and dance team, the Dirty Birds, and the drum line. According to James, the co-chairs are hoping to make the environment similar to that of Midnight Madness, which was a big hit with students. “Make-a-Wish is a really incredible organization,” Engelhardt said. “And the Student Athlete Advisory Committee spends countless meetings planning all the details of this. From start to finish, the students run the game. So, just like Dance Marathon, or other philanthropic student run programs, they’re doing it because they want to do it.” This year, co-chairs and student athletes Meghan Arigo and Kristen James have been hard at work planning the 9th annual Swishes for Wishes event, and promise not to disappoint. “We have a couple things up our sleeves that we want to do during the game,” James said. “As far as rules, we’re playing pretty standard basketball rules. We try to make it entertaining.” The event starts at 7:00 p.m., and is Wednesday in the North Court at Connolly Center. Whether you’re eager to cheer for one of the teams, looking for a fun way to show off school spirit, or hoping to support the Make-a-Wish foundation, this event is a great way to get involved.
Alaina Bever is a sophomore mechanical engineering major interested in bioengineering. This is her second quarter as a staff writer for The Spectator. In her free time, Alaina enjoys running, baking and writing.