Three cheers for the Orange Krush.
Anyone who's been to a Fighting Illini men's basketball game at the Assembly Hall knows that members of the Orange Krush, the student cheering section, go out of their way to make their presence felt.
That's all well and good. They make the games more entertaining.
But even better is the organization's effort to make its presence felt in the community at large.
The Orange Krush this week distributed $180,000 to the University of Illinois as well as to 63 causes and community organizations.
As part of their duties, Krush members solicit contributions from the public and then redistribute those funds to a variety of worthy causes.
The Krush started raising money in the late 1990s, and it has helped set the example for student cheering sections at other schools to follow.
Half of the $180,000 went to a UI fund to support young people who are considering entering the coaching profession. The other half went to support education, health and charitable causes.
The Cunningham Children's Home received the Krush's largest charitable donation — $10,000.
Over the years, the Krush have raised more than $2 million.
Members of the Orange Krush can take justifiable pride in their fundraising endeavors, and community members ought to take pride in the Orange Krush.
There's an unavoidable division between town and gown. But Krush members have helped to bridge that gap by going beyond fun and games to elevate the quality of life in Champaign County.