Indiana Daily Student

Pom squads trying to raise money for nationals

Last-minute notification of budget cuts necessitates planning on part of poms

Early last Friday, while other IU students slept or journeyed home from a long night at the bars, the IU pom squad was trying to keep a dream alive. Beginning at 3:30 a.m., the members of the pom squad woke up, got dressed up and drove to Indianapolis. They journeyed to city radio stations, took their places in front of the stations' front windows and went through the routines they usually perform at IU football and basketball games. They were trying to attract attention so they would be invited on morning radio shows. \nSpeaking out and performing for their cause was just one way the pom and crimson squads have tried to acquire the money necessary to pay for a January trip to the Universal Cheerleaders and Universal Dance associations' national cheer and dance competition. Last week, the squads were informed that they had to raise the approximately $17,000 necessary for the trip because they had run out of funding. While their story has sparked questions from parents and athletic department officials about exactly how that funding was used up, the squad's main concern is earning the money to get to the Orlando competition.\nAlthough the squads have not raised the entire amount of money needed for the trip, pom squad co-captain Erin Gross said the coaches have said the team will go to nationals.\n"Basically, we took it as it was done, there was nothing we could really do about it and we'll raise the money for ourselves," Gross, a senior, said. \nBefore the beginning of the fall semester, the team raised about $23,000 through sponsorships. Part of this money was used for T-shirts the band wore to a summer training camp, senior pom member Jessica Parry said. Some of the money is typically also used for the trip to nationals. This year that money also had to go for shoes, bags and warm-ups because the team lacked the sponsors and contracts they usually get to pay for these things, Parry said.\nLast week, several parents of team members e-mailed IU administration and IU's athletic department, including Athletics Director Michael McNeely. Ronald Kunda, father of pom squad member Amanda Kunda, a sophomore, said the athletics department used the money raised during the summer for uniforms, shoes and bags without letting the squad or coach Julie Horine know. Horine would not comment for this story.\nMcNeely said he did not have any specific conversations with the team, but that the program spent all the money it had.\n"They blew through their budget," McNeely said at the Bloomington Faculty Council meeting. \nAlthough Kunda is happy the squads will make the trip to Orlando, he said he is frustrated by the lack of response from the University. Kunda said e-mails were sent to McNeely, assistant athletics director Mary Ann Rohleder, IU president Myles Brand and several other administrators about the team's situation but none responded.\n"The school has been totally uncooperative," he said.\nSo far Parry said the squads have raised about $10,000 through sponsorships, contacting alumni and a raffle held at last night's basketball game. \nParry said the trip to the national competition is very important to the squad.\n"We love to do football games, we love to do basketball games, but nationals is one of our primary goals," Parry said. "It's like we made the final four and we can't go."\nFundraising plans and trips to drum up publicity for the cause have helped bring the team together. The squads will continue trying to raise money. Each member has already paid her own airfare to and from Orlando.\n"It's been an amazing effort," Gross said. "It's kind of hard to go up to someone and ask for money but when it's this important and we're working this hard we don't want to put in all that work for nothing"

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