MORGANTOWN , W.Va.Alumni and friends of West Virginia University and the Mountaineer Marching Band are being asked to show their support again for The Pride Travel Fund, established by the WVU Foundation to help defray travel costs for the band.

For Mountaineer fans, the bands pre-game and half-time performances are integral parts of the home football game experience.But takingThe Pride of West Virginiaas the band is knownon the road can be quite a challenge.

Getting the nearly 400 member band plus staff to away games or events around the state is very expensive, said Jay Drury, the bands director.

While the University and the Athletic Department provide financial support for the band, our travel expenses exceed the bands budget,he said.We rely on private support from our alumni and friends to enable us to travel.

Drury said that buses, hotels and food are the three major travel expenses. The largest being the nine charter buses needed to transport the band.

In 2007, the first year of The Pride Travel Fund, over $93,000 was raisedenabling the band to travel to away games at Syracuse and Marshall, and a small pep band made the trip to Cincinnati.Last year, over $90,000 was donated, helping offset travel expenses for band trips to Connecticut and Pittsburgh.

This fall, the band hopes to travel to Auburn in September and Cincinnati in November, as well as locations around the state and region for concerts and exhibition performances.

We are grateful for the tremendous support given to The Pride Travel Fund the past two seasons, and are hopeful donors will again step forward during this years campaign,Drury said.

Traveling for the band is an exciting bonding experience as well as a great recruitment opportunity for WVU , said first year drum major Chelsea Cook.

Giving to the Pride Travel Fund not only helps the band extend its �€~wonderto others, it gives every member of the band the opportunity of a lifetime,she said.Some members of the band had never been on an airplane until the bowl trip to Arizona. Donors help make memories for every member of the band.

Second year drum major Jason Bennett agrees.

The feeling you get when you run out of those tunnels is amazing, and the ability to show what’The Pride of West Virginia’is all about to another state and another athletic program ranks up there pretty high,he said.It not only shows our pride for the marching band, but our pride for our University, and our great state. Our thanks go to the donors, because they are now an essential part of what we do.

Anyone interested in contributing to The Pride Travel Fund may do so by contacting the WVU Foundation, 304-284-4000 or

Donors who give $500 or more become members of the prestigious 100 Mile Club.Those who contribute $100 or more before Sept. 1 receive a band CD, and all donors receive a car decal.

The WVU Foundation is a private nonprofit corporation that generates and provides support for West Virginia University.