While organizations across the country sought donations this ‘Giving Tuesday,’ the University launched its own initiative, ‘Giving Blueday,’ a one-day fundraising event as part of its ongoing Victors for Michigan fundraising campaign.
Over 24 hours, the University aimed to bring in $1 million dollars from around 1,000 donors, a mark they reached in the first 13 hours.
By midnight, the University raised $3,252,309 from 5,437 donors. The majority of the donations ranged from $5 to $150.
“When we set that goal, we thought it was ambitious to raise a million dollars from a thousand people,” said Tom Szczepanski, assistant vice president for development. “I think it just shows once again, that Michigan donors exceed all expectations with their generosity.”
For comparison, Szczepanski said the busiest day for online giving for the University is New Year’s Eve. Szczepanski said last year, the University received around $567,000 from 1,100 donors.
Based on the results from Giving Blueday, Szczepanski said the event will likely continue in the future.
The University asked students, alumni and friends to donate to a particular unit, department or University organization of their interest. Some private donors pledged to match student donations.
Kat Walsh, director of student engagement for the Office of Development, said about 70 student groups — including Dance Marathon, the Michigan Marching Band and the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center — participated in the event and asked donors to give to their organization. Walsh emphasized the importance of student involvement in the event.
“We want philanthropy to be fun and empowering for students,” Walsh said. “There are so many student organizations that are fundraising and advocating for amazing causes here at Michigan and beyond. We felt this would be a really great way for them to fundraise on this day.”
Tents were set up on the Diag and at Pierpont Commons, accompanying campus activities throughout the day. Olympic ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White, both LSA students, encouraged students to participate by donating to a club or issue they are passionate about to increase their student experience.
“A big part of being a student at the University of Michigan isn’t only the amazing academic opportunities, but everything else Michigan has to offer,” Davis said. “If you don’t take part in campus activities, being part of the these amazing organizations and support everything we have, you’re really missing out on a lot of the life of Michigan.”
Ross graduate student Jaime Ziegler, graduate chair of the Victors for Michigan campaign’s Student Campaign Committee, said it’s understandable if students could not donate due to financial reasons.
“I understand that everyone is feeling a financial squeeze and tuition is really expensive,” Ziegler said. “I absolutely respect that. I am experiencing it myself.”
However, Ziegler said the cost does not outweigh the benefits of being a student at the University.
“Everyone should be aware that their tuition actually doesn’t cover their cost of their experience here at Michigan,” she said.
Similarly, White said the decision to donate is left to each student.
“Obviously, it’s up to the students what they feel like they want to support,” he said. “This isn’t to support other’s educations. This is to support programs that are going to be helping people or giving opportunities to things that students are interested in.”
Engineering freshman Ankit Shah said he would like to see money go to the College of Engineering given his current enrollment. He said this fundraising event is an opportunity for students to inform University President Mark Schlissel about issues on campus.
“We need to make sure we give him feedback where we want the money to go,” he said.
This article has been updated to include final fundraising totals.