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WSU, UW compete for Space Needle; raise relief funds

The stakes are higher at this year’s Apple Cup-605 feet above ground to be exact. Washington State University and the University of Washington are teaming up with the Space Needle and Habitat for Humanity to raise money to help rebuild homes destroyed by recent hurricanes in the Southeastern United States.

Beginning at 10 a.m., Nov. 2, fans, alumni, students, faculty and staff can make a donation of any amount to Habitat for Humanity’s “Tackling Hurricane Relief” program. When they do, donors will enter a pledge to either the Cougars’ fund or the Huskies’ fund. Each morning throughout the program, the Space Needle will announce the previous day’s leading fundraiser and fly that team’s flag atop the Space Needle’s flagpole for that day.

Donations can be made online at www.spaceneedle.com, by phone at (888) 270-1480 or in person at the Space Needle’s restaurant check-in desk, located at the base of the tower.

On Nov. 15, the school that has raised the most money over the course of the program will have its school logo, colors and a message of encouragement painted on top of the Space Needle. The paintjob will remain atop the tower through Apple Cup weekend. The football game is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 19.

Honorary chairs of the event are former running backs Ruben Mayes and Greg Lewis of WSU and UW, respectively.

“Anyone who knows me can tell you I bleed crimson, but remember, I wore another jersey during my career, and it meant the world to me. I was a New Orleans Saint for 5 years and I grew to love the culture and people of Louisiana,” Mayes said. “To say that it hurt to watch the hurricane devastation doesn’t begin to describe the feeling. I have wanted to do more to help and that is why I am thankful for this opportunity. I know Cougars far and wide want to see the Cougar head and WSU flag on top of the Space Needle, but I know they will also want to be part of this hurricane relief effort. GO COUGS!”

Added Lewis, “It is an honor for the UW Athletic Department to be involved in an important project such as this one. Partnering with WSU and the employees of the Space Needle is a great opportunity to do something good.  I hope that we are able to pull together our alumni for this cause and really make a difference in the lives of people who are really in need of help during this challenging time. I also hope that we will do what
Huskies always do-whip the Cougs!”

“Even though the ‘Tackling Hurricane Relief’ program is a contest, the real winners here are the contributors and the families you’re all helping,”  said Dorothy Bullitt, executive director, Habitat for Humanity of Seattle/South King County. “The devastation in the Gulf Coast is tremendous and currently there is no way to begin permanent rebuilding on a large scale. Local Habitat for Humanity organizations are ‘pre-building’ homes, which will be delivered in pieces and assembled along the Gulf Coast. The efforts of the Space Needle, University of Washington, Washington State University and all the fans, students, faculty, staff and alumni who contribute to this cause are truly appreciated.”

Habitat for Humanity will build as many houses as possible through “Operation Home Delivery,” which focuses on long-term recovery and rebuilding. No limit has been set on the number of homes to be built. The average home cost is approximately $59,324.

For more information, contact Gary Lindsey, WSU College of Liberal Arts, at (509) 335-8522 or glindsey@wsu.edu.

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