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#GivingTuesday supports service trips

Posted on 12.13.2017
Graphic by Juliana Rohrmoser

Graphic by Juliana Rohrmoser

#GivingTuesday is the Tuesday after the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States. The movement started in 2012 as an international day of giving at the beginning of the holiday season. According to Director of Alumni Engagement Laura Teliha, UIndy has been a part of the movement for the past five years, growing from an awareness campaign to showcasing a partnership with different organizations that resonate with UIndy’s “education for service” motto.

“Every year [since 2015] we’ve partnered with a project or organization to really promote giving back,” Teliha said. “This way, donors are also helping the community this way through their gift to the university.”

UIndy chose the 2017 theme “Wrap the World in Service” to feature service trips that students and faculty will partake in next year. According to Associate Vice President for Alumni Engagement Andrew Kocher, #GivingTuesday has previously focused on Wheeler Mission and Laurelwood Community, organizations with ties to UIndy.

“There’s always been a tie to focus on what our students and our faculty  and our staff are doing with these organizations,” Kocher said. “It’s always been to highlight what we as an institution are doing giving back to the communities that we serve.”

According to the UIndy #GivingTuesday website, one of the ways the donations collected during this year’s #GivingTuesday benefitted the Service Trips was by a “match,” where the first 300 donations given during the day would prompt a $10 donation to the General Service Trip Fund. This made an additional $3,000 available to support UIndy service trips.

The funds raised during #GivingTuesday go towards the cost of the service trips. Students take advantage of this aid to help pay for their trips, according to graduate student Jessica Miller.

“The funds that our group has raised will go towards travel, food and accommodations,” Miller said. “Whatever funds we don’t raise, the students will pay out of pocket, which is what we have done in the past. Every little bit helps and we are grateful for everything we receive.”

Miller will participate in the “Beyond Borders” service trip to southern Texas. This trip, led by Associate Professor of Biology and Anthropology Krista Latham, will assist in the humanitarian effort of recovering and identifying persons who have died while trying to cross the border from Mexico into the United States.

Although service trips were a feature on this year’s #GivingTuesday, the donations collected during this day as well as other fundraising events hosted by University Advancement benefit more than one department. Every time a donor makes a contribution to UIndy, they can choose where to direct their gift or make a general donation that will then be allocated into the department that needs it most, according to Kocher.

This year’s #GivingTuesday campaign surpassed it’s goal of 300 donors with 11 hours remaining. According to the UIndy #GivingTuesday website, the total amount raised was $30,139 by 437 individual donors, which beat last year’s record of $19,231 from 293 individual donors.

According to Taliha, this year’s campaign was more successful than the previous years’ because the focus on service trips resonated with the UIndy community. The trip leaders became advocates for #GivingTuesday and participated in the promotion of the campaign.

Another factor that made the campaign successful was promotion on social media by members of the UIndy community, according to Kocher.

“The university can put together the materials about the ideas but it’s more powerful when a staff member, a student, an alumni puts us out on their social media networks,” Kocher said.

Students and faculty promoted #GivingTuesday and encouraged people to contribute to the university, according to the #GivingTuesday website. Through the donation of monetary gifts, donors could earn items. The featured item was a scarf with the UIndy logo that anyone who donated $28 or more could earn.

According to Kocher, donors from 19 states and Italy contributed to this year’s #GivingTuesday campaign.

“The scope of the project was more of an online campaign,” Kocher said. “It allows people wherever they are in the world to make a gift, which is exciting.”

#GivingTuesday is not the only event that University Advancement hosts to generate gifts for UIndy. Looking forward towards the upcoming Alumni Engagement events, including an event for Good Hall and UIndy Day in the spring, Kocher would like to see more engagement with the student population. According to Kocher, the team at University Advancement finds it’s motivation through helping give young adults an opportunity to earn a college education, the most impactful gift a person can give.

“‘Education for Service’ is a very powerful and emotional motto,” Kocher said. “The donors recognize that. They want to be able to support the students and the community because they want to and we’re just there to provide the vehicles and facilitate the connections.”

The planning for next year’s UIndy #GivingTuesday will start in the spring of 2018. According to Kocher, the next featured program will provide students the opportunity to be a more active part of #GivingTuesday.

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