Friend raising

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The first annual Blugold Open, a fund-raising event scheduled for Feb. 3 in Zorn Arena, stemmed from an idea that, fittingly enough, the tennis team came up with.

The event, a table tennis tournament with a $5 entry fee, is open to anyone interested and will benefit the athletics department.

“I’ll give (coach Tracy Saloka) and the tennis team full credit,” said Bill Rowlett, development and programmer for athletics. Rowlett is helping coordinate the tournament, which will raise funds for the athletics department.

Saloka passed the credit for the tournament one more time to junior Steve Matuszewski, a member of the men’s tennis team.

“We’ve had the idea since October,” said sophomore Andrew Kallio, also a member of the men’s squad. “A lot of it was (Matuszewski’s) idea and our coach helped it along too.”

As the idea grows into the tournament, Saloka said he hopes this will become an annual event at UW-Eau Claire.

“Hopefully we can make it bigger and better each year,” he said. “Right now we’re testing the water and so far things are going well.”

Registration for the tournament is $5, a price well worth it, according to Rowlett, who said all participants will receive an assortment of items simply for registering.

“We figure it’s about $8 worth of incentives,” he said. ”

T-shirts, a gift certificate for Rocky Rococo and a Pepsi sport bottle come with the registration fee. Prizes also will be given to various participants based on performance.

“Hopefully it will catch on,” Kallio said. “We’re trying to get as many students involved as possible.”

The event is open to students, faculty and the general public.

“We’re looking forward to it,” Saloka said.

Rowlett, who filled the newly created position at the university in August, said he also helped coordinate a Pennies for Points program taking place with the basketball teams.

Participants can pledge a certain amount for each point scored by the men’s and women’s basketball teams. Completed forms can be dropped off at Burger King.

Participants will receive a T-shirt or sweatshirt as well as a certificate good for 10 percent off of regular priced items at Burger King for one year.

“We try to set things up so they’ll be a win-win situation for everyone,” Rowlett said of fund-raising activities. He said he likes to term it “friend raising” in addition to fund raising.