BY JESSICA MITCHELL, ASST. TO THE EDITOR IN CHIEF
The annual Thanksgiving dinner at Susquehanna, one of many SU Traditions on campus, was held on Nov. 21. On that day, however, another event was put in play: Thanks4Giving Day.
From 10 a.m. on Nov. 21 to 10 a.m. on Nov. 22, Thanks4Giving encouraged students, faculty, alumni, parents and anyone else willing to participate to give a donation to the school, vote for a specific organization and share via social media to get others to participate. If 250 votes were cast for each organization- hurricane relief, local food banks and Habitat for Humanity- each group would be given a gift towards their cause if that goal was met. If these 750 votes were all cast before the 24 hours were up, Susquehanna would be given a $200,000 gift.
Ashley Koser, assistant director of the Susquehanna University fund, was one of the people leading the event. “It was a whirlwind,” she said. “I knew that it was going to go fast, but I had no idea that the twenty-four hours would fly by that quickly.”
Koser said that she had been working on this project for five months.
She said: “We spent months and months planning this event, and now to see it so successful had me so emotional that I had happy tears, because it was so exciting and so fulfilling to know that we created this program and so many people felt such a connection to it that they wanted to be a part of it.”
Koser said that she spent most of her time during Thanks4Giving at command central, the main point for the event, which was located in Mellon Lounge. There, phone calls from alumni and others were answered, boards were updated to show the event’s progress and people could come in person to donate or enter to win prizes for sharing Thanks4Giving on social media.
“I think, looking back, if I could change anything about the whole day, it would be letting students know more about registration for prizes,” Koser said, noting that that particular aspect was a last-minute setup. “Next year we want to see more students coming to the table.”
Koser said that all the goals were met during Thanks4Giving. All three organizations received 250 votes and received their gifts for their causes. Following this, Susquehanna then received their $200,000 gift from an anonymous donor. In addition to these main goals, Koser also said there were mini goals set up throughout the day. Donors sent in challenges to get a specific amount of donors by a certain time and if met they would give a donation to the cause. All of the mini challenges were also completed.
The official numbers aren’t in yet, Koser said, but at this point they have raised $470,673.60 through donations with 1,005 totaled transactions during the event.
She said, “It’s one of those things that really shows how us being able to help the community, but also SU, is something that not very many schools have ever done.”
Koser added that she’d like to give a big thank-you to everyone for their help and participation throughout Thanks4Giving. She said, “Thank you to everybody, because without each and every dollar and gift that came through, we wouldn’t have been able to meet all these goals.”
Assistant director of residence for civic engagement, Jay Helmer, was also happy with outcome of Thanks4Giving.
He said, “Anytime you do a first-time event, you’re never sure how it’s going to go. I thought it went fabulously.”
He continued, “Ultimately it wasn’t the dollar value of the donations but the number of donations that was the most important thing here.”
Helmer said that the gifts towards the organizations, especially Hurricane Relief and Habitat for Humanity, are game-changers. For Habitat for Humanity, he said, they will receive materials for the roof for one of their builds. The Hurricane Relief trips will be able to save some of their monetary gift for future trips and also decrease the cost for students going this year. For the food pantry cause, Helmer said that Susquehanna will be working with Aramark to find the best food at the best price to help the community.
Helmer said, “It made a special day at SU even that much more special.”
Koser said that there is discussion about whether or not Thanks4Giving will continue in upcoming years.