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Davis, California

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

UC campuses unite in a Promise for Education

In a collaborative effort to assist students in need, nine of the University of California campuses have made various promises towards a common promise for education.

An unusual fundraiser that began on Sept. 18, Promise for Education involves students, faculty, staff, alumni and even celebrities.

Participants must commit to a promise of their choice, whether it’s humiliating or generous, and set a funding goal to meet by Oct. 31. Then they share with friends on Facebook and Twitter, and ask them to help reach their goals.

Many Aggies are participating in this campaign including Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi. She pledges to work as an employee at the Coffee House for a day if her $5,000 goal is met.

“Promise for Education is so important, to raise money for students in need, that I have a second promise,” Chancellor Katehi said.

Extending her commitment, the Chancellor plans on hosting a VIP Greek Gala if her goal is doubled which will include an evening of festivities and food.

With the campaign reaching a little over $1 million so far, UC Davis hopes to contribute about $40,000 from the 44 promises made. The University expects to be within the top three campuses raising the most funds within the next two weeks.

Currently, however, most campaigns started by UC Davis members have yet to be fulfilled.

Currently, UC Davis has raised nearly $8,000. Nine pledges have been successful in accomplishing their goals, including the UCD Donor Relations team that has reached and exceeded its $1,000 goal. However, 21 of UC Davis’ pledges have yet to raise a dollar.

According to Jason Wohlman, Associate Vice Chancellor for University Development, “ … the largest share of gifts received to date have been designated to the program that will support all the UC campuses overall.”

UC Davis’ Alumni Association has been highly involved with the Promise platform. They have been promoting on campus as well as networking with their 225,000 alumni. Also collaborating with ASUCD and their scholarship team, the money raised for UC Davis will be added to the scholarship pool almost immediately.

“There is no specific dollar goal for the overall program, rather just the hope to generate as much private gift support as possible for the benefit of student scholarship programs.  The dollars given directly to UC Davis will be incorporated into the existing scholarship program of the campus and the number and size of the awards will be varied,” said Associate Vice Chancellor Wohlman in an email interview.

Promise for Education’s utilization of social media and crowdfunding as its driving forces have also been a point of discussion.

“Crowd sourcing on a scale like this for the university is a relatively new concept. To try this on a nine campus basis and engage so many individuals in doing it is really a unique idea, so we consider this a research project in motion as we go through it,” said Assistant Vice Chancellor for Alumni Relations and Executive Director Richard Engel.

As the campaign’s UC Davis “street team coordinator,” Assistant Vice Chancellor Engel’s role involves assembling a team to help promote the cause.

He too has made a promise and has reached closer to halfway to making his goal.

“I have promised to wear a big cow suit and lead the Aggie fight song at half time at the UC Davis Cal Poly game,”  Engel said.

The concept of uniting in support of education is simple, and so is the process of making a promise.

“Most students are already frequent Facebook and Twitter users. If all you have to do is share it with your social network friends for donations, it seems like it’s barely a task compared to the amount of time we spend on those sites, ” said fourth-year psychology major Jun Lee.

NICOLE YI can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.

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