SOMERS — When the UW-Parkside men’s basketball team takes the floor next month for its 2019-20 home opener, it will do so on the Haribo Court.
In front of elected officials, university leaders and student-athletes, Parkside announced a 10-year partnership with Haribo of America Inc., on Tuesday at the Sports and Activity Center.
The partnership with the world’s leading gummy manufacturer, along with a $300,000 commitment, is aimed toward higher education, internships, career opportunities and improvements at the newly named Haribo Court, formerly known as the Alfred and Bernice De Simone Competition Court.
“This is a game changer for all the student-athletes who compete here,” Parkside men’s basketball coach Luke Reigel said. “The thing that is most exciting is the continued progress you see around here. Haribo’s partnership fast-fowards our progress, which is fantastic. It’s an exciting time to be at Parkside. We couldn’t be happier.”
Parkside athletic director Andrew Gavin said the partnership jump-starts a fundraising campaign to enhance the Sports and Activity Center, highlighted by a complete seating reconstruction in the Alfred and Bernice De Simone Gymnasium.
“The De Simone Gymnasium has been an asset to this university for nearly half a century,” Gavin said. “We thank Haribo for embracing and supporting our vision to return this historic venue to a place that energizes our campus community, enhances recruiting efforts and our student-athlete experience, and welcomes our community and visitors to a state-of-the-art facility.”
The impact will be felt universitywide with the creation of the Future Focus Scholarship Fund, a new initiative of the UW-Parkside Foundation offering need-based support to Parkside students.
Parkside senior Morgan Sikon is one of the scholarship’s first recipients.
The computer science major worked at the school’s App Factory — a campus group that develops mobile apps for area businesses — and completed a technology-based internship this summer.
Sikon was offered a full-time position as a security analyst upon her graduation in May.
“I’ve spent a lot of time in the financial aid office searching for scholarship opportunities to help me financially,” Sikon said. “It’s such a relief to know I have the support to keep me on track for graduating and the dream job that’s waiting for me.
"Haribo’s generosity will ensure that other students, like myself, will have the same scholarship opportunities to assist them throughout their time here at Parkside. Being rewarded for our hard work is always appreciated.”
Toni Hansen, Haribo’s human resources director and a 1990 Parkside graduate, said the university was one of many local organizations, groups and businesses to reach out to Haribo shortly after the German company announced plans to build a manufacturing plant in Pleasant Prairie.
“As we were coming into the community, a number of folks made us feel very welcome,” Hansen said. “Parkside was one of them.”
Haribo’s contributions to the scholarship program will be spotlighted on Parkside Day, an annual day of giving set for March 5. Parkside Day will provide opportunities for alumni, supporters and businesses to engage with the university and contribute to the Future Focus Scholarship Fund or other programs to support students.
“This exciting, new relationship with Haribo of America provides additional financial and educational support for current and future UW-Parkside students” Parkside Chancellor Debbie Ford said.
“The majority of our students are the first in their families to attend college. Thanks to this new partnership with Haribo of America, our Future Focus Scholarship will provide more opportunities for students to achieve their education goals. It also provides the start to an important capital-improvement campaign.”