His brown and gold shoes neatly tied and his man bun perched just so atop his head, Rowan University junior Joe Egan paced the landing of the stairs in the Pit to the Chamberlain Student Center and greeted everyone he met.
“Come to #RowanGIVES Day! Get a t-shirt,” he exclaimed to students walking by the Pit around lunchtime on Wednesday, March 1.
As he offered greetings, Egan, a mechanical engineering major from Fairfield, was working up a serious sweat. But the cause was worth it, the member of the Rowan Student Alumni Association (SAA) said.
After all, it was #RowanGIVES Day, the third annual event dedicated to celebrating the generous spirit of the Rowan University community. Rowan supporters from all over—students, faculty and staff, parents, alumni and friends—joined together for a 24-hour span of giving in support of Rowan students, scholarships, initiatives and programs.
Goal for donors exceeded
When the day of giving concluded, 1,162 donors contributed $80,150 to the University. The initiative well exceeded its 1,000-donor goal with funding pouring in for everything from the Rowan Fund to Rowan Emergency Medical Services to Rowan Unified Sports to memorial scholarships to the Early Childhood Demonstration Center.
As he informed students about the purpose of the day, Egan was clearly pleased to be part of something he knew would directly benefit the Rowan community and its students.
Throughout #RowanGIVES Day, the Pit was the center of excitement as Rowan Radio 89.7 WGLS-FM broadcast live, student organizations set up information tables, and members of SAA provided special #RowanGIVES Day t-shirts to any student that donated $10 or more.
“It’s cool to see students giving,” Egan said. “I love that #RowanGIVES Day is focused on the number of donations, not the monetary amount. I love Rowan. I really do. And I love that our donors can choose which organization to support.”
Up to the challenges
A dozen challenges were built into #RowanGIVES Day. Donors achieved 10 of them, including:
- the Community Challenge, which earmarked $5,000 for the Rowan Fund;
- the Alumni Challenge, which provided $2,000 for the James S. Huff-Miller Scholarship Fund after 500 alumni provided gifts;
- the Faculty & Staff Challenge, which, once 200 faculty and staff members donated, provided $1,000 to the Marketing/Business Systems Information Department;
- the Student Challenge, which provided $1,000 to Rowan EMS after 125 students made donations;
- the Parent Challenge, which earmarked $1,000 to the Early Childhood Demonstration Center after meeting the goal of 75 donations from parents of Rowan students;
- the Friend Challenge, which provided $1,000 to Rowan Unified Sports when friends of the University met a goal of 100 donations;
- the Young Alumni Challenge, which provided $1,000 to the Peer Mentoring Scholarship Fund once 100 young alumni provided gifts;
- the Facebook Challenge, which sent $500 to both Rowan EMS and Cooper Rowan Clinic Care Coordination when social media followers shared the Rowan Gives Day video publicly on Facebook;
- the #RowanPROUD Challenge, which provided $1,000 to Rowan After Hours when the hashtag was used on social media; and
- the #RowanGIVES Day Challenge, which earmarked $1,000 to the Rowan Student Emergency Fund when it was mentioned on social media.
Only two challenges—the “Mystery Challenge,” which, at 1,500 donors, would have sent Rowan President Ali A. Houshmand into the dunk tank for Hollybash next month, and the First Time Alumni Donor Challenge, which, with 250 first-time alumni donors, would have provided $1,000 for the Food Pantry and Campus Resource Center—were not met.
But excitement for #RowanGIVES Day was at a fever pitch at multiple venues throughout the day, according to Amie Marshall, Rowan’s associate director of annual giving.
At the Rowan call center, students worked from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. soliciting contributions from alumni and donors via phone. When information came in that the drive was closing in on the Parent Challenge, the student callers made sure their own parents stepped up to the plate, Marshall said.
“Rowan parents see the pride here and they see how being a Rowan student makes their child feel,” said Marshall. “The call center was just electric. Our students were so excited to be part of it.”
#RowanGIVES Day events were held on three campuses and also were supported by alumni-organized activities at Landmark Americana in Glassboro, P.J. Whelihans in Cherry Hill, Provision No. 14 in Washington, D.C., and a Los Angeles-area restaurant.
For individuals who were unable to contribute to #RowanGIVES Day, the social media challenges allowed anyone to show their Rowan love by spreading the word about the initiative, Marshall said.
The student participation this year was particularly telling. Due to the efforts of Rowan Radio, the Rowan Alumni Association, student groups and the Student Alumni Association, #RowanGIVES Day organizers saw a 37 percent uptick in student participation in events in the Pit, Marshall said.
A strategically placed gong, loaned to organizers by the Rowan music department, contributed to the fun. Each time a student contributed a donation of $10 or more, they had the chance to hit the gong—a loud, spirited way to celebrate their contribution.
Freshman Charlie Plate, a member of SAA and an economics major, was the proud keeper of the gong.
“To hit the gong properly, it’s kind of just a solid swing,” chuckled Plate, who already is involved in more than five campus clubs and was waiting until his shift was over to bang the gong in celebration of his own gift to Rowan Gives Day.
“I’m giving a cool $10 to the Rowan Fund,” he added. “I love the opportunities I’ve been given at Rowan. I love the people here. #RowanGIVES Day means so much to me. It doesn’t matter how much you give. What matters is that you give.”
According to Marshall, $230,674 has been raised during #RowanGIVES Day over the past three years.