To encourage graduating students to be active alumni and donate back to NSU, NSU’s Office of Advancement and Alumni Relations hosted FINlantrhopy from March 8 to 10 on the Fort Lauderdale/Davie campus. The event aims to push seniors to become active alumni.
“We want seniors to be encouraged to go to some of the alumni events, which are really well done,” said Laura Garrido, assistant director of the Office of Annual Fund. “They have anywhere from professional development events to networking events.”
During the three-day event, each day represents a particular mission of the week: to educate, to engage, and to ask.
To emphasize “educate,” shark fins were placed on the Alvin Sherman Library Quad to represent donors who have contributed to the Annual Fund campaign. There are approximately 3,000 donors, including faculty, alumni, and students.
Students, faculty, staff and community members could also purchase a fin to be placed on the lawn. Although any amount was accepted, graduating seniors were encouraged to donate $20.16, representing their graduation year. Graduating seniors who donated that amount received a yellow shark fin pin that they can wear on their regalia at graduation.
Garrido said that through these events, NSU encourages student philanthropy and giving back and that emphasizing their importance is something new and exciting.
“A lot of people have the idea that you have to be a millionaire to give back to the university,” she said. “But this is a way to encourage a small donation that students are comfortable with. It could be anywhere from $1 to $20.16.”
To emphasize “engage,” the organizations hosted Thank a Giver (TAG) Day, when students, faculty, and staff learned about the importance of philanthropy at marked locations around campus. Tags that said, “This would not be here without generous donors,” were placed at locations that were created thanks to donations. Locations included hallways, auditoriums, the Alvin Sherman Library, benches and study rooms.
“It’s just another way for our students who are on campus to know that there are things here on campus that probably would not be here without generous donors,” Garrido said.
To emphasize “ask,” annual giving booths were set up in the Don Taft University Center and the Terry Administration Building. This event, known as #SharksGive, was a 24-hour fundraising event to promote philanthropy at the university.
Garrido said that there are more than 200 gift designations that people can donate money to, including a pediatric dentistry fund and a fund for international students who are studying conflict resolution.
“A lot of people give to a cause they care about, and this is a way to bring that cause back to NSU,” Garrido said. “A lot of people don’t know that there are ways that the donor can choose where they want their money to go.”
Many of the giving programs also emphasize community service, which has proven to be a strong value of the NSU community.
“We do have a strong spirit of community service; it’s one of our core values,” Garrido said. “We want a more engaged alumni community who comes back to mentor students. If we get one donation, it’s a success. We just want to encourage the message.”
The office hopes that once students see the importance of donations for creating scholarships for their peers, as approximately 80 percent of students depend on financial aid, they will be inspired to take control of the event. Eventually, the office hopes FINlanthropy will be completely student-run.
“We think the peer-to-peer aspect is more powerful than it coming from the Office of Annual Giving,” she said.
Garrido said that many schools have student philanthropy programs, and this would be the opportune time to start one at NSU since the launch of Realizing Potential -- The Campaign for Nova Southeastern University.
*Adapted from article in The Current