So what happens when one young woman decides she wants to become more involved with her community?

A party evolves — in this case a bar mitzvah for Clyde the Cougar at the College of Charleston.

That’s right — a big shindig of a party on Saturday night with plenty of dancing, food, libations and this year’s entire basketball team and coaches, both men’s and women’s. The students are calling it “Boogey for a Cause.”

Talk about an invite list. And an organizational feat.

Junior Elaine Prigal is finding her life is consumed right now as she helps the student-run Jewish Student Union/Hillel get ready for the party. This has involved everything from a photo shoot of Clyde at KKBE to running down items for the silent auction.

“It came about because we wanted to help with team spirit and school spirit and do something good at the same time,” says Prigal.

They will be introducing the new men’s and women’s basketball coaches, plus the teams for this year. The proceeds will go to the nonprofit ORT’s Alyn Hospital in Israel, which accepts disabled kids from all over the world regardless of religion or country of origin and gives them the care and resources to get on with their lives.

Prigal says she has visited the hospital several times with her family, and this seemed like a great way to get other Jewish students involved in a good cause. There are about 600 Jewish students at the College of Charleston, about 6 percent of the school’s enrollment. The JSU was formed in the 1990s as a way to present more Jewish activities on campus.

Fast forward to this week, and Prigal is eating and sleeping the event, says Marsha Alterman, Jewish student life adviser.

“I’m not sure she’s even going to class,” Alterman said Monday. “She’s texting me at all hours of the day and night with questions.”

Of course, it’s hard to go wrong with a big, cuddly Cougar dancing the horah to “Hava Nigalia.” And, yes, they do plan to raise the mascot up in the chair, although he might have to have a big one to accommodate his large, furry seat.

“Many of the basketball team members have probably not been to a bar mitzvah,” says Alterman. “They might not know what all is going to happen.”

The event is taking place 8-11 p.m. Saturday at the TD Arena in the McAlister Suite. Prior to the event at 7:30 p.m., there will be a VIP cocktail gathering for the sponsors with coaches Doug Wojcik and Natasha Adair, former coaches Bobby Cremins and John Kresse, and of course Clyde.

Local businesses like Dining With Sal, Hyman’s Seafood and Pearlstine Distributors are providing the food and drink, and other King Street businesses have donated items for the silent auction.

And just like any other good bar mitzvah, this guest of honor will have a great big guest card for well-wishers to sign for good luck in the coming basketball season.

So far about 200-300 people are expected, and you can buy tickets online at Student tickets are $18 with the promotional code PAWS, adults are $54, and alumni are $25 with the promotional code alumyad. And, yes, you can buy tickets at the door.

Who says one person can’t make a difference in this world.

Stephanie Harvin can be reached at or 937-5557.