Alumni Challenge returns for repeat win for Athletics

Pedro Hernandez playing soccer

Soccer player Pedro Hernandez (in white)

October 11, 2021

What better way to motivate former and current athletes than team spirit and competition?

That’s the premise behind the Otter Alumni Challenge. It’s an Athletics Department fundraiser in which each of the 13 intercollegiate teams is challenged to raise alumni involvement and support for current and future student-athletes.

This year’s campaign started Oct. 11 and will run to Oct. 17. The team with the highest participation percentage will receive additional rewards, and contributions will be matched based on the level of engagement.

The Alumni Challenge began last year when the Athletics program was shut down by the pandemic, and came out of a discussion with a local donor to the university.

Moe Melhart, CSUMB’s assistant athletics director for external operations, is also the central organizer of the Challenge.

“Alumni showed up for us when we needed them the most, and we are so thankful for their support,” said Melhart. “This challenge is really about our alumni showing our current athletes that they believe in what we are doing here at CSUMB, and that they are forever part of the MB family.”

Last year, 235 alumni helped contribute more than $20,000. Funds raised will stay within the specific program that the alumni donate to, supporting scholarships and other needs like travel, equipment and team gear, according to Kirby Garry, CSUMB athletic director.

“And the team-by-team competition is a natural fit for an athletics department of highly competitive coaches and athletes,” Garry said.

One of those athletes is Pedro Hernandez, a senior and right midfielder on the men's soccer team. He said that during the suspension of athletics last year, he and his fellow teammates spent time with family, worked on themselves, and stayed connected to each other through Zoom. One of the aims of the Alumni Challenge is to reinforce the connection with alumni. 

“I would like to see more alumni at our games, at our practices,” Hernandez said. “Getting to know the players, the staff, the coaches; seeing where their donations are going; making connections and networking. They can see how the program has grown. At the end of the day, it’s a community.”

For more information, go to the Otter Alumni Challenge web page