News & Features Editor
The chance to share a meal with the President of an institution isn’t a chance that most college students are presented with.
Sure, Springfield College President Mary-Beth Cooper has held a number of large events at her home, including ice cream socials and New Student Orientation gatherings, but not many get to sit down with four friends and enjoy a four-course meal with the school’s leader.
Not only do you get to indulge in the food but with the help of Cooper and a chef from Cheney, you prepare the meal in Cooper’s kitchen. Now the question becomes, “How on Earth do I get the opportunity to do this?”
The answer is quite simple: Giving Day.
Giving Day is a 24-hour event that helps raise funds for the Springfield College Fund, Friends of East Campus or Friends of Springfield College Athletics. The day will be held tomorrow, March 3, from midnight to midnight replacing what used to be a 31-day expedition known as March Challenge. To be entered to win the “Cooking with Cooper” prize, all you need to do is donate 10 dollars.
“It’s going to be a pretty exciting day,” said Paige Moran, a student who has been heavily involved in organizing the event. “We’re encouraging all alumni to give back to the college and really get our current students into the idea of wanting to give back to their institution.”
For five years, March Challenge, the 31-day expedition, was a great success that raised a lot of money. Over the reasonably dry month of March in which not much happens besides St. Patrick’s Day, March Challenge became the focal point of the month for many alumni and students.
Introducing March Challenge tripled the amount of funds raised compared to when raising money was from March to June. However, there was still room to improve and be able to bring in more of the green stuff.
“Everyone in the world is doing one day giving challenges,” said Laraine Robison who is at the helm of the event. “We needed to do something like that and put a different twist on it. We kind of said ‘March Challenge has been really successful, but let’s change gears before it become unsuccessful.’”
After hearing people refer to March Challenge as “that thing in March” and talking to different schools for techniques and ideas to better the event, Robison and her team decided to “step out into traffic” and allow Giving Day to take over.
Changing the event to a singular day has the ability to get people excited about the day and gives potential “givers” something to look forward to.
“The fact that one day is being promoted so much and that there is going to be a big scene downstairs in the union is really getting people excited about it,” Moran said.
Robison explained that there is no dollar goal. Rather the goal of the event is to see how many students, alumni, faculty and staff can come together and make a big impact by giving back.
“The message behind it is to show that you don’t have to give a lot to make a big difference,” Robison said. “The struggle has been teaching this to students before they leave and become alumni. We don’t want to come off as, ‘You graduated, but now we want your money.’”
Preparation for Robison and her team has been a long process. A number of members from Alumni Relations, Marketing and Communications and more have come together to blueprint Giving Day and make sure that everything runs smoothly.
“We meet every week as a team,” Robison said. “We need to make sure that we are covering all of our bases and think of things we may not have thought of in the past. We brainstorm social media messages and try to get a lot of students involved. It’s fun to see it all come together. It feels like organized chaos.”
Along with being entered to win the dinner with President Cooper, each class is offering quality prizes as well. For example, the senior class is offering two tickets for senior week (which is like gold, according to Robison), while another class is offering an iPad mini just for participating in the day. There will be a number of contests, a “New Year’s Eve feel,” and a DJ in the Union from 10 p.m. until midnight.
Gifts to the college can be made on March 3 online, by phone or in person at the Union. Real time progress will be shared on Springfield College’s website. Visit the Giving Day website here.