Just two months after the launch of We Are Aggie Pride, the program’s plans to assist financially challenged students are already well on track, according to members.
We Are Aggie Pride (WAAP), which is both founded and run by UC Davis students, is a philanthropic program that raises money for students through donations. These donations are organized into financial awards and disbursed to students based on an application and review process.
The purpose of these financial awards is not to assist in students’ payment of tuition or other school-related costs, but to cover expenses that financial aid does not target, such as rent fees and food staples.
Thus far, WAAP has been highly successful in collecting donations to provide debt-free financial assistance for students in need.
“Aside from Picnic Day, where individual donors contributed a little under $200, we recently received a tremendous contribution from the Physics Department,” said Rajiv Narayan, a senior critical economics major and one of the program’s communications directors, in an e-mail interview.
Since the program’s launch week at the end of February, the WAAP team has already amassed about $22,500 in donations and disbursed eight separate awards — a total of approximately $12,000 in financial grants.
The collection of these sums was made possible by campus events such as Cupcakes on the Quad and Donor Appreciation Day, which have increased the program’s presence.
“These events have been really successful in getting donors to come to us,” said Sarah Hoover, a senior history major and the program’s student awards director. “They really show students the fruit of their donations and give them a chance to interact with the program firsthand rather than just hearing about it.”
Although donations alone from the student body have been of massive value, the WAAP team strongly encourages students to also consider getting involved more directly — by becoming members of the team themselves.
“Our biggest goal for next year is just to get more student involvement,” said Dominick Carlson, a senior psychology and economics double major and the program’s budget director and student advocacy director. “We’ve had phenomenal response from alumni and friends of the University, but we want to encourage even more students to have a more focused involvement as well.”
Student involvement is essential to the program because just about every duty for the program is carried out solely by students.
“Everything, from copy-writing and website development and social media, to event-planning, budget directing, business outreach and application review is handled primarily by students on the board with help from UCD staff liaisons,” Narayan said.
Furthermore, according to Carlson, getting involved is of particular importance now, as the academic year draws to a close, because many students currently on the board of members will be graduating in June. As such, WAAP will be looking to recruit several new team members for its second year of operation.
Current board members are presently working to institute a selection process for future board members, as well as planning for the expansion of the board overall.
“Our board will be a little bigger, but that’s because we’ve learned that some positions on the board actually need to be done by two people,” Narayan said. “We’re trying to be more precise with our expectations of board members.”
However, even though students are strongly encouraged to consider attending board meetings and getting involved on a leadership level, board members are appreciative of whatever sort of assistance students are willing or able to give. The goal, said Hoover, is widespread campus participation.
In order to achieve this goal, the WAAP board will be planning more events similar to Cupcakes on the Quad and Donor Appreciation Day for the remainder of this year and even thinking ahead to next year.
Perks will continue to be offered to students who contribute to this fund.
If the satisfaction of philanthropic fulfillment isn’t enough, students who donate also receive a limited-edition WAAP T-shirt that can be used to get discounts at a number of businesses in downtown Davis such as Pinkberry, Woodstock’s and Beach Hut Deli.
Updates on the dates and times of these events can be viewed as they become available on the WAAP website at weareaggiepride.ucdavis.edu or on We Are Aggie Pride’s Facebook page.
Students interested in applying to be on the board can find information on the website. Applications are due May 5.
DYLAN GALLAGHER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.