November 08, 2013
SU presents its first Thanks 4 Giving DayThis November, Susquehanna welcomes a new event to campus: Thanks 4 Giving Day. On Nov. 21, this new event will begin, which is the same day as the university's traditional Thanksgiving dinner served in Evert Dining Room by faculty and staff.
Ashley Koser, assistant director of the Susquehanna University Fund, is one of the people heading this event. She said that the idea for Thanks 4 Giving started back in the summertime, but it really started progressing in the last three months. University Relations as well as the Center for Civic Engagement have been working on this project. However, Koser said she hopes that the whole campus will be involved in Thanks 4 Giving Day.
Originally, Koser said this idea came from the influence of other colleges, such as Columbia and North Carolina State.
"Columbia was just raising money for the school, and NC State was raising money for the school but also helping the community, so we took both of those ideas and combined them together," Koser said. "Seeing all these schools around us doing this sparked the idea, and it's just taken off."
Thanks 4 Giving Day, Koser said, is a 24 hour event that goes from 10 in the morning to 10 the next morning on Nov. 22.
"It's really going to be pushed a lot through social media," Koser said. "We're really trying to promote it already over Facebook and Twitter."
Koser said this event is engaging three different causes: Habitat for Humanity, Hurricane Relief and Snyder County Food Pantries. All three of these organizations are also aware and involved in the Thanks 4 Giving Day process. Over the course of the 24 hours, students, alumni, parents, friends and anyone else interested can go onto the official Thanks 4 Giving website and make a donation to Susquehanna. This money will go towards the Susquehanna Fund. After that, people have the opportunity to vote for one of the three different organizations. Then, they are encouraged to share the site through social media so that others can get involved.
"We have it set up as 'give, vote, share,'" Koser said.
She added that each organization needs 250 votes in order to trigger a gift towards their cause. Major donors are behind each organization and will give their gifts after this 250 vote mark has been met for an organization. For Habitat for Humanity, the gift is the purchase of the roof for their spring build in nearby Penn's creek.
If Hurricane Relief meets 250 votes, that organization will be able to send 20 to 30 students to New Jersey and New Orleans to work on hurricane relief projects.
Finally, if 250 votes are met in the food pantry category, Snyder County Food Pantries will deliver a year's worth of fresh produce to local food pantries. If all three goals are met within the 24 hour period, another donor will give $200,000 to Susquehanna.
"It's all going to be within a 24 hour period, and it's going to be very intense," Koser said, "but it's really exciting, because we're able to help all three of these causes, and it's also helping give money to SU."
Koser said that she describes Thanks 4 Giving as saying "thank-you" to and supporting Susquehanna during the Thanksgiving season, but also giving back to these different local causes as well.
Depending on how this first year of Thanks 4 Giving goes, Koser added that they are thinking about whether or not to continue this event in future years.
Jason McCahan, director of Susquehanna University Fund, said that one of the exciting parts of this event is the fact that it is live tracking, meaning all the giving, voting and rewarding done during the event will be real time. Students, alumni, parents, friends and others can check back throughout the day to see how things are going.
This event is also an opportunity for alumni and students to connect over a common cause and a common love for a tradition, he added, specifically through social media.
"[Thanks 4 Giving is] an opportunity to give our alums all around the world the chance to remember the tradition here, take part in the conversation, take part in making a gift, encourage others to give, and also connect with students in the process," McCahan said. "It's using the social media channels in that regard that will be an interesting dynamic in this whole process."
Assistant Director of Residence Life for Civic Engagement Jay Helmer is helping out with Thanks 4 Giving Day as well through the Civic Engagement office. He also added that this event is more than just about raising money.
"Thanks 4 Giving is, in some ways, about donating to the university, but it's also about leveraging that money into something that is helpful to the community at large," he said. "It's not simply about just giving to the university. It's about using that money to leverage opportunities and needs in the community while we're also meeting needs on campus as well."
Helmer has worked with the organizations involved and added that the rewards that are offered to them would be "game-changing."
For Habitat for Humanity, Snyder County Food Pantries and Hurricane Relief, the rewards will further their cause in a big way, whether that be having fresh produce, a fully-funded roof or the ability to send students to hurricane relief efforts.
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