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Basketball fans plan to go crazie for philanthropy

Hailed by ESPN as the "rowdiest, wittiest, best-organized college basketball fans in the land," the Cameron Crazies hold a reputation for their clever chants and unmatched passion for Duke basketball.

But as the 2007-2008 basketball season begins, Anders Campbell, a junior, is attempting to bring an additional reputation and tradition to the Crazies' culture-generosity.

Campbell is a cofounder of a new student-run program, Crazies Who Care. Before the sprint to Cameron Indoor Stadium on the night of basketball games, members of the organization will be standing in front of line monitors asking students to swipe their DukeCards to donate $1 to the Emily Krzyzewski Family Life Center and the Duke Children's Hospital.

"We wanted to pick two charities that were closely related to Duke, because this is really supposed to be a gift from the Cameron Crazies to the Durham community," Campbell said. "We thought that by picking two charities that had strong ties to the Duke Basketball community, we could use that as a springboard, especially in the first year."

Megan Sherrell, a freshman who said she plans to donate, said the program offers an opportunity for students to give back, and that for only a dollar per game, the Cameron Crazies can make a big difference not only in the lives of people within the community, but also in the way people think about students.

"People might start thinking, 'They're not just basketball fans. They're more than just Cameron Crazies,'" she said. "Being a Cameron Crazie is such a huge part of Duke, and giving can become a huge part of that as well."

Because some students have shown concern about the new line policy, Campbell said he is nervous about any changes to the basketball tradition and added that he hopes people will be enthusiastic about raising as much money as possible.

"I think it can be [part of the Cameron Crazie culture]," he said. "I'm excited about it and I hope everyone else can get excited about it as well. A lot has been put into it so far, and I think a lot more can come out of it."

Because there have not been any programs similar to this one in the past, Campbell said he has no estimate for how much money the students will raise in each individual game or throughout the season. The student section of Cameron holds approximately 1,500 people, but the donation to Crazies Who Care is on a voluntary basis.

"I think it will definitely contribute in a meaningful way," he said. "The Emily K Center, when we've talked to them, are very excited about it and the fact that it's coming directly from the students. I think that is one of the ways it's going to make a big impact-that it's essentially a gift directly from the students to help these organizations out."

Lauren Gardner, the director of operations at the Emily K Center, said the money raised will greatly benefit the center. She added that the awareness the program is bringing to the center's mission is just as valuable.

"Funds from this are going to go a long way," she said. "More than that is the awareness that Crazies Who Care is going to give to us by introducing us to the student body and getting our name out there."

Crazies Who Care will be tabling on the West Campus Plaza and in front of the East Union Building, handing out brochures, selling T-shirts and putting up banners on Main West Quadrangle to raise awareness about their group. Students who swipe their DukeCards to donate will also be entered into a drawing to win either a signed basketball or one of two Duke jerseys.

The program will launch this Saturday at the Blue-White Scrimmage.

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