Campus gears up for the inaugural Wilkes Giving Day

Sean Schmoyer, Asst. News Editor

Feb. 20 marks the beginning of a new 24-hour long online fundraising effort by the university. Throughout the day the SUB will be filled with students, deans, coaches, other faculty and alumni as the university pushes toward its goal of raising the most amount of money for the university in a single day through donations.

At Winter Commencement, Interim President Paul S. Adams first brought the program to campus’ attention.

“It is a new and special way for all of us to foster a sense of community and showcase our Colonel Spirit, while we raise donations for important campus activities,” he said. “It is a contemporary way for our alumni and friends to engage with and support the areas of the university most important to them.”

Giving Day focuses on 10 sections of the university: the six academic colleges and schools as well as four other sections that impact student life at Wilkes.

Alumni, students, faculty and friends and family of those connected to Wilkes can donate to any of the following: College of Arts, Humanities, & Social Sciences; College of Science & Engineering; Sidhu School of Business & Leadership; The School of Education; Nesbitt School of Pharmacy; Passan School of Nursing; Athletics; Student Life; Student Scholarships; and the E.S. Farley Library & Innovation.

Submitted by Wilkes Marketing

Leigh Ann M. Jacobson, CFRE director of alumni engagement and annual giving, spoke about the day’s importance.

“The day is all about showing your colonel pride. There are many ways to participate and all of them have a level of importance than just making a gift. Making a gift, of course, is critical to the success and being able to raise money in support of all the academic, athletic, student life and general scholarships.”

From 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on campus in the lobby of the SUB and on the second floor outside of the Miller Room, students and alumni will be able to participate in numerous events and activities to raise awareness about Giving Day.

Starting at 8:20 a.m. and continuing every hour until 7:20 p.m. (with a break at 2:20 p.m.) each of the ten areas of interest will have a challenge hour.

“We are having a theme of the 20s. When 20 donors are reached in each of the 10 areas it will unlock a challenge gift of $2020. Each of the 10 areas has a challenge hour where we will be pushing out content just about that unit,” said Jacobson.

The content will be pushed out on all of Wilkes social media pages, but each area will also be releasing content during its hour on its social media as well.

In the weeks leading up to Giving Day, each dean or central figure of each area has released a verbal and written statement about Giving Day and how each area can be impacted.

Dean Paul Riggs addressed that areas of interest for the College of Arts, Humanities, & Social Sciences are to continue to improve the performing arts, pre-law, the Sordoni Art Gallery and to help establish new programs that lack alumni, such as a new African-American studies and film studies programs.

The College of Science and Engineering’s Dean Prahlad Murthy addressed that the school is hoping to have donations help fund student travel to conferences, undergraduate research opportunities, professional certification programs and many other aspects of the college.

Dean Abel Adekola said, “The Sidhu School of Business and Leadership prepares students for business success in today’s highly competitive, global marketplace. As we continue our commitment to educate and prepare our students to lead beyond the boardroom we call on each of you to help us continue.”

Donations to the School of Education will contribute to the school’s mission to empower educators at every level, both locally and globally, according to Dean Rhonda M. Rabbitt.

Dr. Scott Stolte, Dean of the Nesbitt School of Pharmacy, spoke about three students, Cody Morcom, Dylan Fox and Danica Benson, pointing out that donations would help students like them.

“They have all achieved outstanding accomplishments and they represent the excellence that all of our student pharmacists embody. On this 2020 Wilkes Giving Day, I ask that you join me in making a gift to support scholarships for pharmacy students.”

Dean Deborah Zbegner addressed that over the past five years, the Passan School of Nursing has undergone changes that brought it into the 21st century. She stated that donations would continue to support what is the “only freestanding school of nursing in northeastern Pennsylvania that provides a comprehensive suite of academic programs leading to B.S.N., M.S.N., D.N.P. and Ph.D. degrees.”

Athletic Director Addy Malatesta spoke of the 500-plus student-athletes participating in 23 varsity programs that donations would continue to benefit and support.

Deans Mark Allen and Phil Ruthkosky spoke about how donations to student life would contribute to the Student Emergency Fund, the Alternative Break Program and the Colonel’s Clothes Closet.

Chief Development Officer Margaret Steele said, “When you choose to give to Student Scholarships, you have the choice of giving between the First Generation Scholarship Fund or the General Scholarship Fund. At Wilkes University there is no better example of generosity than the scholarships which directly reflects our collective values.”

Dean John C. Stachacz stated that donations to the E.S. Farley Library & Innovation will directly support the mission “to provide the collections, services and environments to support and strengthen the teaching, learning, mentoring and research mission at Wilkes.”

When every challenge hour starts the bell on campus will ring, signifying to students that a new challenge hour has begun.

“We are asking all students, faculty and staff, to come and get a picture and make a social media post with the #givetowilkes,” Jacobson said. “The theme this year is “It Takes Two, Wilkes and You,” and that means you as a student, the faculty and of the alumni and friends. Our mission is to turn social media gold and blue.”

Alongside the photo booth that will be present in the SUB downstairs, there will also be an area for Tik Tok that will have to do with the theme song of “It Takes Two.”

On the second floor of the SUB in the Miller Room, volunteers can come in and make calls, send emails to personal contacts and encourage others to donate. In addition, members of different athletic teams will be around the Miller Room to reach out to former athletes as well.

Throughout the day there will also be photo challenges online that will provide prizes to those who participate.

“The biggest thing about Giving Day is that it is a day on campus where you support the areas you love most. On the giving form, you can make a tribute to someone who has made an impact on you at Wilkes,” said Jacobson.

“Throughout the year, every other day, when someone makes a donation to say, wrestling, half of the donation goes to wrestling and the other half goes to further all of athletics. On Giving Day, it is the one day where 100% of the donation will go to that sport in athletics,” she continued.

While students can donate, the campus is looking for students to be active on social media and spread the word about Giving Day and encourage others to donate.

Students interested in helping out with Giving Day should go to the official website and learn more about the photo challenge, gain access to shareable images for different social media and check out the social media toolkit available which has example posts to model your own off of.

The hashtags being used throughout the day will be #ItTakesTwo, #Wilkes&You, #WilkesGivingDay and #Give2Wilkes.