#BookItToBrooklyn campaign gets VCU students to A-10 tournament

Posted at 9:19 PM, Mar 11, 2014
and last updated 2014-03-14 17:57:28-04

UPDATE: Greg McQuade caught up with Tori Valentine, who helped organize the #BookItToBrooklyn campaign to get the Rowdy Rams up to the Atlantic 10- conference.

“I’m so, so proud,” says Valenitne “I didn’t think this fundraiser to get as big as it did.”

Tori’s fundraising goal was eight thousand dollars. At last check the figure topped $14,000. Most donations were for $10, $25 and $50. A local restaurant donated $1,200.

Former VCU basketball player Eric Maynor donated $1,000, as did Shaka and Maya Smart.

The money not only covers transportation but lodging as well, and the students get courtside seats, so you can bet it will be loud come game time.

“My senior year. This is awesome. Everything I wanted to do,” says senior, Eric Hogarth as he boarded a bus on campus well before sunrise.

“I got the email about tickets for $20 dollars. I said, ‘Oh my gosh. What an opportunity,’” says Hogarth.

When VCU tips off against the University of Richmond, Shaka Smart and his Rams will hear loud cheers courtside all thanks to the generosity of complete strangers.

'Oh, it feels so great to actually see the community help these kids get to Brooklyn," Valentine said.

He also talked to the Rams headed to New York. Click on the video to watch his full report!

UPDATE 1: As of 1:30 p.m. Wednesday the campaign is at $12,800, raised by 155 people in one day. Read below about the original goal.

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - A fundraising effort is underway to help get VCU students to the Atlantic 10 Men's Basketball Championship in Brooklyn, New York.

"We (we as in VCU alumni and students) have just been talking about VCU going to the Atlantic 10 tournament this weekend and we realized yesterday that there’s been a bit of Twitter firestorm about how George Washington University is going to send a bus with their students up to the A10 Tournament," Tori Valentine, a December 2012 VCU graduate, said.  "We just feel like we need to have our students there."

In just the first six hours, the Go Fund Me campaign, raised $2,655 from 32 people. The bus needed to go to Brooklyn, provided by VCU, would be $4,500 total.

Then, by midnight, a tidal swell of generosity had moved the campaign over $7,000 of the $8,000 total.

More than 90 donors have contributed so far, in donations ranging from $5 to $1000, a generous donation from former Ram Eric Maynor, who now plays for the Philadelphia 76ers.

The 56 seats on the bus are reserved for Rowdy Rams, or students who pay a yearly fee for guaranteed access to VCU basketball games.

"We have a group of students that have been to every basketball game. They’re always in the front, always standing and it’s important for us to get them on the bus first,” Valentine said.

Safe hotel accommodations for 56 would come to $3,500. In order to secure the bus and lodging, a total of $8,000 will be needed upfront. That works out to $142 each per student.

While no final logistics have been planned for the trip, Valentine said that fellow VCU alumni Kevin Woods will handle the final plans for the trip once the fundraising is over. Woods is also responsible for running the Rowdy Rams Twitter account.

For those Rowdy Rams that are unable to go on the bus, those seats will become first come, first serve to non-Rowdy Ram students. Interested students should tweet or direct message their interests to @RowdyRams.

People wishing to donate to the fundraising effort can do so at:

The university is helping organize another bus for VCU fans.  There are limited spaces available.

Last year VCU helped send a bus up to Brooklyn for the Rams first A-10 run.

VCU plays Friday, against University of Richmond or Duquesne. 

Social media has exploded with response to the #BookItToBrooklyn campaign, with several people reaching out to Spike Lee, who recently became part of the Ram Nation: