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Davis, California

Thursday, April 18, 2024

UC Davis raises $2 million on Give Day

Students are not expected to donate to annual fundraiser

A common sight before and throughout the long awaited Picnic Day are the small picket signs nestled into the grass, displaying barcodes and names of certain organizations or buildings asking for donations. But the reason why Give Day exists in the first place and why donations are needed is not common knowledge.

Preparations for Give Day typically start in September, and the event requires nearly a year to properly plan. According to Melissa Lutz Blouin, the director of News and Media Relations for the Office of Strategic Communications, “The Give Day committee is comprised of nearly 60 representatives from across the university who meet monthly,” including all of the colleges and schools, UC Davis Health, the Picnic Day committee, the Cal Aggie Alumni Association, Strategic Communications and even departments such as Student Affairs, the Arboretum and the Manetti Shrem Museum. Lutz Blouin said that this “collaborative effort” is what makes Give Day such a success.

UC Davis was able to raise more than $2 million from about 4,450 donations during this Give Day event, according to Lutz Blouin.

“[These donations are a] remarkable outpouring of support from our alumni, students, parents, faculty and staff and friends,” Lutz Blouin said. “We are grateful for the commitment and generous support of the UC Davis community for students, research, programs and special projects throughout the university.”

What exactly will be done with those $2 million is up to the donors who chose specific funds when making their donations. Lutz Blouin described how each donor chose a certain area of interest to them, which will now allow the “university to benefit scholarships, programs, research and special projects.”

The Graduate School of Management was able to raise $50,000 from 192 gifts which is “twice as much as last year and a great showing from our alumni,” according to Kristy Peterson, the director for the school, via email. Although there were multiple efforts that could be donated to, there were two that were particularly at the forefront: Oustanding Female Leadership & Impact Award and the Student Rainy Day Fund.

Shari Kawelo, the executive director for Development and External Relations for the College of Biological Sciences, disclosed via email that the College of Bio Sci and other colleges on campus “raise funds for college-specific priorities and ask donors to support us through Give Day Challenges (minimum gift of $2,500).” Their efforts were centered on 20 programs, including the Young Scientist Program that “promotes K–12 STEM education” along with the Bodega Marine Laboratory Undergraduate Research Scholarship which “allows undergrads to do hands-on marine science research over the summer at the university’s Bodega Marine Lab.”

The college reaches out to alumni, friends, parents, staff, faculty and students. Students are included due to their ability to publicize the event.

“[Students] can help us spread the word about the college’s needs in a very personal way through their social media channels, acting as ambassadors for the college,” Kawelo said. “[We] greatly understand the financial pressures placed on students to gain their education, [though].”

Lutz Blouin affirmed that the Give Day efforts and the target audience is the “entire UCD community,” specifically reaffirming “the message that Every Aggie Counts.” The small picket signs throughout campus are mostly seen by students, leading to questions as to how much exactly students can be expected to donate due to having the burden of tuition and other costs placed upon them. Donations are voluntary and not every student should feel as if they must donate. In fact, Lutz Blouin stated any size donation is appreciated.

“[A] $5 gift to The Pantry, which is about the cost of a latte, will help several students who are dealing with food insecurity on a daily basis,” Lutz Blouin said.

To give a donation is actually an “opportunity,” Lutz Blouin said — one that lets students “participate and see the multitude of areas across their university that are impacted by philanthropy.”

During this last Give Day at least 150 students self-identified as such when donating gifts.

Written by: Deana Medina — campus@theaggie.org


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