News / Calgary

Mount Royal University launches first ever crowdfunding campaign

Money to go towards monitoring equipment for athletes

Coach Nate McKibbon, left, stands with team captain Angela Driscoll.

Helen Pike/ Metro

Coach Nate McKibbon, left, stands with team captain Angela Driscoll.

Mount Royal University is leaping into its first crowdfunding initiative, and all accounts are showing the project is set to be a slam-dunk.

The Cougar Athletics Women's Basketball team is raising money so they can jump into the 21st century with what's called the Polar Team Pro System. They need $10,000 – and are going to get it through a crowdfunding platform called USEED.

Nate McKibbon, head coach of the women's basketball team, is new in his position, so coming in fresh he wanted to work with the team on evaluating the program.

"One of the areas we felt we needed to do a better job of was understand how some of our training loads affect our athletes," McKibbon said. "For us the overall thing is improving on overall health. I think a healthier athlete will perform better in the classroom, they'll have more time and energy to give back to the community…I think it will improve their day-to-day lives."

The souped-up heart rate monitors, which are used by three NBA teams and other pro sports groups, will track stats on athletes' performance and how much recovery time is required to set them up for success. This all gets delivered in realtime and then projected for the whole team to see at the end of any session when the ladies are physically active.

What's more is the crowdfunding approach is helping the team play on a whole different level. Angela Driscoll, captain of the Cougars' female basketball team, explains their tried and true approach of getting regular funding from family members sometimes has teammates shaking the same bushes every year. But this new method is allowing them to tap a whole new audience.

"It's definitely more personal,"  Driscoll said. The team tries to thank all donors within 24 hours, and they give live updates.

"It's a great way to get more people involved and really put our school out there."

Though it's not going to replace any of the school's more traditional fundraising methods, Buffy St-Amand, manager of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving, suggests it's a winning model. She said MRU partnered with USEED - a group out of the U.S. that is geared specifically towards post-secondary projects.

"This opens the door to all kinds of different possibilities," St-Amand said. "It provides opportunity for faculty, students and alumni to really empower them to lead those campaigns - It's a shared responsibility."

She said this allows the institution to engage faculty and support them with smaller projects MRU otherwise wouldn't have resources to focus on.

So far McKibbon said the team has raised over 53 per cent of their goal. The team will play a charity game against some of the Calgary Stampeders Wednesday morning.

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