At Oswego State, students have the opportunity to receive a total of more than 250 scholarships, attend a variety of programs and events each year, and use some of the best equipment in their industries. But none of this would be possible without the gifts of the college’s donors, who will be recognized at Oswego State’s first Love-a-Donor Day.
The event aims to show gratitude for donors, with students themselves doing the thanking. There will be tables stationed around campus where students will be able to sign thank you postcards and take a thank you photo or video.
Michelle Tackett-Spinner, Associate Director of Stewardship and a coordinator for the event, said one of the goals of it is to give students the opportunity to thank donors in a personal way.
“It’s a two-piece philosophy. First is we want to thank donors for their gifts to the college,” Spinner said. “Really donors love to hear from students and how their donation is making an impact.”
But expressing thanks to Oswego State’s donors isn’t the only goal of the event. According to Spinner, event coordinators hope the event will raise student awareness for the difference donor gifts make in the college community.
“So we want to obviously thank the donors, that’s one piece,” Spinner said. “But the other piece is really basically educating students and say, ‘Hey, do you realize we have donors? And how much they really are impacting your experience here at SUNY Oswego?’”
President of the Future Alumni Network and recipient of the Michael O’Brien Scholarship, Eyub Yegen, said he thinks it is very important that students are aware of the difference donors make in the Oswego community.
“I think it’s an unfortunate fact that most of the students don’t know about it,” Yegen said. “They don’t know how much actually it impacts them. I think it’s important that we have such days like meet the alumni, or Love-a-Donor Day.”
Yegen said he thinks the connection that can be made between a donor and a student can be powerful, especially when it comes to networking. He made a connection with the donor of his scholarship, which he said made the experience of earning the scholarship even better.
“It’s not just receiving the money, it’s more than that. You learn so much from the alumni by meeting them,” Yegen said.
Yegen said the money he received from his scholarship helped him afford to attend seven conferences last semester, which is just one example of the impact donors have on students.
Spinner said the idea for the event, which will feature a fun Valentine’s Day theme, was inspired by similar events at other schools.
Love-a-Donor Day will take place on Valentine’s Day. According to Spinner, this was planned to play off the theme of the holiday. The tables will have red balloons and decorations to further incorporate the Valentine’s Day spirit into the event.
Students may also be drawn to the tables because there will be candy and prizes. Students can get candy if they sign one of the postcards that will be available at tables. They’ll also be entered into a drawing for gift certificates to local restaurants.
Physical postcards won’t be the only way students can send their thanks. Appreciation can be shown to donors instantly through Twitter and Instagram by using the hashtag #oswegolove.
The event will be from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. and will be located in multiple locations across campus: Tables will be located in the Campus Center Activity Court, the Campus Center Concourse, Cooper Dining Hall, Rich Hall and the Shineman Center.
Spinner said she hopes that more students realize the impact of Oswego’s donors at the end of Love-a-Donor Day.
“Hopefully students do understand that and value it,” Spinner said. “And then when you become alumni you want to give back as well.”