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Partnership takes university mascot program to new heights

Tony Bonnell has a challenging job on any given day operating 16 Stop ‘n Save convenience stores around western Colorado. Despite extra obstacles facing local businesses during the pandemic, Bonnell and the Stop ‘n Save franchise found time to support CMU on Tuesday, October 7, by kicking off a partnership fundraiser in conjunction with Swire Coca-Cola, USA for a CMU scholarship.

Stop ‘n Save is joining Coca-Cola to develop a new source of income for the university's recently established Rowdy Performers Scholarship created at the CMU Foundation.  

In addition to being a regional leader in business, Bonnell is also a graduate of CMU. This connection to campus is partly what inspired him to create the new fundraiser and support his alma mater.  

“Stop ‘n Save has really great ownership who gives back to the community,” said Bonnell. “We are pleased to support the future student mascot performers who also regularly support our stores. They are our future employees and community business leaders.” 

Bonnell selected the company’s flagship store on Horizon Drive in Grand Junction, Colorado, for a kickoff event that included leaders from Coca-Cola Swire as well as CMU’s mascot named Rowdy. The location caters to many students and parents as they travel to and from the university.   

“Today might be one of the last times people in the community see the mascot in its current configuration,” said CMU President Tim Foster. “As we prepare the launch of the new program, the mascot will take on a new look and will have a new brand and personality moving forward. It’s great to see community support and enthusiasm for the new mascot performer scholarship fund.”  

Foster referred to the fact that moving forward, CMU’s Rowdy performers will be on scholarship, trained and equipped with new mascot costumes – a program being launched in association with Coca-Cola and Stop 'n Save. 

Throughout the fall and winter Stop 'n Save and Coca-Cola will donate a portion of proceeds from each 32-ounce soft drinks sold at any of their local retail locations. The foundation drinks are cups that have the CMU Mavericks logo on them and are reusable.   

In addition to getting a new design, the Rowdy Performers Scholarship fund will allow the university maverick to make additional public appearances and attend a wider variety of on campus events. 

“We couldn’t be more excited about the new program,” said CMU Foundation CEO Liz Meyer. “Mascot programs provide job opportunities with professional sports teams and help students learn the art of sports marketing. We are grateful to Stop 'n Save and Coca-Cola for helping launch this new partnership for scholarship."

Community partners or individuals intersted in contributing to the mascot scholarship fund can contact the CMU Foundation.

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Written by David Ludlam