Building the new $3.5 million habitat for the University's beloved Bengal tiger, Mike V, will begin with a groundbreaking ceremony in November, said Ben Broussard, development officer for the Tiger Athletic Foundation.The Tiger Athletic Foundation
began the "I Like Mike" campaign in 2001 as a fundraiser to build a new home for Mike.Broussard
said the project started because the University is the only campus in the country with a Royal Bengal tiger mascot, and if the habitat was not upgraded, the University may not be able to continue having the mascot on campus.
The construction will begin after football season and will be finished before next season, Broussard
said the "I Like Mike" campaign began as a grassroots effort, and campaign coordinators raised awareness about the project by passing out stickers advertising the foundation.
Students can be involved in the campaign by donating $10 to the Collegiate Club membership, a fee which goes directly to the foundation, Broussard
Famous Louisiana artist George Rodrigue painted a picture of Mike V, and anyone who donated $500 to the fund received a signed and numbered print of the picture, Broussard
People also can contribute $100 and buy a brick, which will help pave the walkway people take to visit the habitat, Broussard
An "I Like Mike" event celebrating Mike's birthday will be held Friday, Oct. 29 in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center
.Local sponsors will supply food, and people who donate $10 to the fund receive a T-shirt.
Private donations and TAF chapters from around the state also significantly contributed to the fund, Broussard
said "I Like Mike" did not have trouble generating funds for Mike's new home.
"Mike touches home with everybody," Broussard