At first glance it may have appeared as if a pickup game of basketball was being played in the parking lot of Walmart on Plank Road last weekend.
But instead of practicing their jump shots, students from Penn State Altoona were raising money for Easter Seals Central Pennsylvania at their 42nd annual Bounce Marathon.
Over the course of the weekend, students from the Altoona campus stood at the entrance of Plank Road Commons and Sierra North shopping plazas soliciting donations from shoppers.
Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec
Michael Lock, 18, of Juniata was among the members of Penn State Altoona’s Greek organizations collecting money on Friday for Easter Seals Central Pennsylvania.
The students, many of whom worked multiple five-hour shifts, said the Bounce Marathon is a great way for students to get involved and help those in need.
"There's a lot of generous people in Altoona," Chris Katawczik, 21, said as one man dropped a folded $5 bill into the can.
The money goes directly to Easter Seals, Katawczik, a junior criminal justice major and a member of Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity, said.
Phi Sigma Kappa was one of the multiple Greek life organizations participating in the fundraiser, he said.
Students bounce multiple basketballs as they stand at the shopping centers collecting donations.
Although the idea behind the Bounce Marathon started with a single fraternity in 1970, the event has "blossomed" and students from across campus are invited to participate, Easter Seals Development Specialist Kristy Replogle said.
"We're very fortunate that Penn State Altoona students have been doing this, especially for such a long time," Replogle said. "And the community is always so supportive as well. There's a lot of people that know someone that receives services at Easter Seals."
Easter Seals provides physical, occupational and speech therapy for children and adults with disabilities and special needs, Replogle said. And all of the money Penn State Altoona students raised will stay local and provide services for central Pennsylvania residents, she said.
Students raised just more than $11,000 last year, Replogle said. At the close of the fundraiser Sunday afternoon, students had collected $7,800 for Easter Seals - short of the $10,000 goal, she said.
But the students are determined to exceed their $10,000 goal and are planning other fundraisers during April, she said.
Despite falling short of their five-figure goal, students said they enjoyed their time hanging out with friends all the while helping to support Easter Seals.
"It was colder, but it was a lot of fun," sophomore Cynthia Perez, a biobehavioral health major, said.
A member of Alpha Sigma Tau sorority, Perez said the involvement of the Greek community helped contribute to last year's record-breaking total.
Members of Penn State Altoona Greek life and other students on campus will remain active in fundraising efforts throughout the month with drives planned at local restaurants and events, Replogle said.
Replogle said she is fortunate to work with such a dedicated group - especially because the students conceive of and organize the fundraisers on their own, she said.
"It's really a student-run event," Replogle said. "Every year, I'm just amazed at their dedication and willingness to put in these hours."
Mirror Staff Writer Zach Geiger is at 946-7535.