By Matt Welch
Times West Virginian
Education is a building block to a healthy society and should be celebrated.
Fairmont State University will celebrate the education in and around North Central West Virginia by holding “Education Appreciation Day” on Saturday when the men’s and women’s basketball teams host Mountain East Conference foe West Liberty.
With a valid school ID, area elementary, middle and high school students under the age of 18 and school faculty as well as faculty and staff at FSU will be given a free general admission ticket to the games.
Fairmont State Athletic Director Tim McNeely said the promotion isn’t about monetary value but rather taking time to appreciate education.
“We don’t put out any funds for this. We have general admission inventory that we know we can utilize for this game and give our fans access to,” McNeely said. “It’s not so much a money thing, but an exposure thing.”
McNeely said the school’s different departments have taken to social media as well to get the word out to the community, knowing that most teachers and students are involved in the worlds of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
“I think it’s gone viral,” McNeely said. “We encourage folks to pass it along.”
Celebrating education coupled with the big game for both men and women on Saturday presented the perfect opportunity for the promotion, McNeely said.
The men’s game features a nationally ranked West Liberty team taking on the homestanding Falcons, which held the Hilltoppers to their lowest-scoring outing of the season, while the women’s game features a third- versus fourth-place matchup.
“Given the magnitude of the game, it attracts members to come see that game,” said McNeely. “It puts people in the seats but also allows us to showcase FSU and show how we support education and our appreciation.”
As the season winds down for Fairmont State, giving fans a chance to take part in such a big event helps bring even those who haven’t been able to make a game or just want to treat the family to a nice Saturday to Joe Retton Arena.
“It’s the essence of what we do,” McNeely said of being able to hold the promotion. “To be able to highlight (education) in North Central West Virginia is just a great opportunity to thank all of those involved.”
Tipoff for the women’s game is at 2 p.m., while the men begin at 4 p.m.
Email Matt Welch at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow on Twitter @MattWelch_TWV.