UB TAG Day raises awareness about private donations on campus
Ahmad Muhammad Temoor, a sophomore electrical engineering major, signs a card thanking UB for the various programs and services private donations have given the university. On Thursday, UB celebrated TAG (Thank and Give) Day, an event in which 11 stations were set up around North and South Campus to educate students on how the school has benefited from private donations. Kelsang Rmetchuk, The Spectrum
On Thursday, UB hosted its first annual TAG (Thank and Give) Day. It is the university's own version of National Student Engagement and Philanthropy Day, which is a national effort to get students to think about philanthropy and its impact on them.
The event aimed to teach students about the various donations UB receives and the future of philanthropy at the school. It also gave students an opportunity to thank those who have made donations.
"It's usually not something you think about when you're a student on campus, that there are people donating money that helps scholarships and improves programs and study abroad ... all things that come through philanthropic money," said Jennifer Silverman, the assistant director of donor relations.
Eleven stations were set up across North and South Campus, and students were able to visit the stations and witness how different departments have benefited from donations.
In O'Brian Hall, for example, the law school's table demonstrated how donors' money has helped its program. Alumni, friends, faculty and staff have funded the courtroom, classrooms and renovations within the building. The money has also sponsored programs like the New York City Program in Finance and Law - a semester-long opportunity to study in New York - and the Buffalo Public Interest Law Program and Moot Court Program.
"Donations help the university and, if people can start thinking about giving earlier, then they might be more willing to donate when they graduate - especially if they're made aware of all the things that donors have helped support, that have made their student experience better," said Jill Domagala, the assistant director of development programs at the law school.
In the Student Union, the Athletics and Student Affairs Departments set up tables to promote the Blue and White Fund and Parent Fund, respectively. Both funds financially support programs in each department.
Student-athletes were filmed thanking donors and telling stories of what the donations meant to them.
The Blue and White Fund launched in January and "raises capital support for athletics in support of student athletes," said Matt Mossberg, the director of development for major gifts in the division of athletics.
Former student-athletes, alumni and community members donate money, which primarily covers operating expenses and capital projects. The contributions also help scholarships, sports medicine, academic counseling and facilities.
"[TAG Day] is a multitude of things: raising awareness among current students here, because obviously this is the future, as well as thanking our current donors," Mossberg said.
Max Simon, a sophomore biomedical engineering major, heard about TAG Day from Facebook. He said the event is a good way to recognize the people who contribute to students' experiences at UB and to thank these donors.
At the set-up tables around campus, students could write thank you cards, which are sent to donors when they give back to the UB community. Students could also leave notes and their signatures on the TAG Day banners.
In addition, there were bracelets with "#UBTAGDAY" printed on them, a reminder for students to think about giving, according to the event page. There were also lollipops attached to a note defining philanthropy.
TAG Day also had an ongoing photo contest. During the "selfie campaign," students took pictures and posted them on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #UBTAGDAY. Three students who took the best photos will each be rewarded $100 worth of Campus Cash. The winners have not yet been chosen.
Silverman said TAG Day creates a "culture of giving." She believes when students are educated about how philanthropy contributed to their educational success, they will be inspired do the same.
"I think it's important that they were in our shoes and they're able to leave a legacy behind them, and I think it'd be important for us to do the same for students in the future," said William Krause, a sophomore political science major.
Zin Htoo, a sophomore exercise science major, is a member of the Nu Alpha Phi fraternity and recognizes the importance of philanthropy.
"Philanthropy is a big deal on UB's campus," Htoo said. "I feel like alumni donation is really important to the school, and they should always come back and try to look out for us and then guide us through college and even after college."
The event's coordinators intend on bringing TAG Day back every year in hopes of getting students to think about philanthropy and how it has made a difference in their own college careers.
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