Big Red needs a new suit, calls on fans for help

Big Red called on help from his fans last week to raise money for a new suit using SpiritFunder, a recently established crowdfunding platform available to the WKU community. 

Elisabeth Moore

Big Red, the iconic mascot of WKU, sought help on the internet last week. 

On Monday, April 17, WKU utilized a new tool called SpiritFunder to help freshen up Big Red with a new suit. The “Big Red Needs A New Suit” campaign began on SpiritFunder, a donation driven website much like GoFundMe, with a goal of $7,000.

“Big Red is not in any danger of being removed as WKU’s mascot,” Kyle Neaves, associate athletic director at WKU said. “The SpiritFunder initiative, started by the WKU’s development office, is simply a fun, creative way to engage our fans who might want to contribute directly to the Big Red program. If funds are not generated through this initiative, they will be pulled from another area.”

To achieve this goal, donors had the choice of multiple donation levels ranging from the Big Red High Five, which cost $5, to the Big Red Ultimate Fan, which cost $1,000. The most popular level was the Big Red Belly Slide with a total of 12 backers who donated $25 each, though there was one ultimate fan who chose to donate a full $1,000 to Big Red.

Within three days of the initial start date, Big Red managed to raise $7,025 with the help of 44 donors. Many of the Big Red donors chose to remain anonymous with their donations, though a few signed their name along with a short message to Big Red explaining why they wanted to donate.

“I was eager to seize this opportunity to support WKU and support Big Red, knowing that every dollar contributed to WKU helps stretch or save a WKU dollar that otherwise would have been needed to keep Big Red looking great,” said Marc Archambault, vice president for development and alumni relations at WKU. “It felt great to know that once Big Red was in a new suit, I would remember that I played a little part in making it happen. And it was especially enjoyable to be a part of a group effort to support WKU through SpiritFunder.”

There are currently multiple Big Red suits that have a lifespan of 

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ew skin, freshen up, saving Big Red

Big Red, the iconic mascot of Western Kentucky University, sought help on the internet last week. With the spring semester coming to an end, Big Red decided it was time to work on his summer body, leading him to request financial assistance from some of his biggest fans.

On Monday, April 17, WKU utilized a new tool called SpiritFunder to help freshen up Big Red with a new suit. The “Big Red Needs A New Suit” campaign began on SpiritFunder, a donation driven website much like GoFundMe, with a goal of $7,000.

“Big Red is not in any danger of being removed as WKU’s mascot,” Kyle Neaves, Associate Athletic Director at WKU said. “The SpiritFunder initiative, started by the WKU’s development office, is simply a fun, creative way to engage our fans who might want to contribute directly to the Big Red program. If funds are not generated through this initiative, they will be pulled from another area.”

To achieve this goal, donors had the choice of multiple donation levels ranging from the Big Red High Five, which cost $5, to the Big Red Ultimate Fan, which cost $1,000. The most popular level was the Big Red Belly Slide with a total of 12 backers who donated $25 each, though there was one ultimate fan who chose to donate a full $1,000 to Big Red.

Within three days of the initial start date, Big Red managed to raise $7,025 with the help of 44 donors. Many of the Big Red donors chose to remain anonymous with their donations, though a few signed their name along with a short message to Big Red explaining why they wanted to donate.

“I was eager to seize this opportunity to support WKU and support Big Red, knowing that every dollar contributed to WKU helps stretch or save a WKU dollar that otherwise would have been needed to keep Big Red looking great,” said Marc Archambault, vice president for development and alumni relations at WKU.

“It felt great to know that once Big Red was in a new suit, I would remember that I played a little part in making it happen. And it was especially enjoyable to be a part of a group effort to support WKU through SpiritFunder,” he added.

There are currently multiple Big Red suits that have a lifespan of around two years, Neaves said. Much like other apparel or equipment, the Big Red suit wears down with usage, causing the need for WKU to buy new suits every couple of years.

Originally created by WKU alumni Ralph Carey, the making of Big Red is now tasked by a company called Cowan Costumes, which creates costumes for companies like Chuck E. Cheese and KFC. When WKU receives its new Big Red suit, it will replace one of the current suits, which will then be placed in university storage.

“Happy to help get Big Red a new suit,” said Ruth, one of the more anonymous backers on SpiritFunder. “I was at the Diddle Arena when he made his debut. Big Red has a special place in my heart, as well for thousands of other fans.”

Reporter Elisabeth Moore can be reached at 270-745-6288 and [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @emoore938.