Augustana fundraises for student services and environmental projects

Feven Zewdu

Augustana’s largest fundraising event of the year occurred last week. On March 10-11, Augustana celebrated the Blue, Gold & Bold event, which is a charity event organized by the Office of Student Life and the Office of Advancement. 

Students, faculty and alumni donate money to the Office of Advancement to support students by giving scholarships in the form of the Augustana Fund. 

Augustana Funds are used to support scholarships, academic programs, excellent student experiences, buildings, campus operations and unexpected challenges, such as mitigating COVID-19. The Augustana Fund also supports the campus Green Initiatives Fund to help purchase two electric campus vehicles and fund two sustainability internships. 

This collaboration between the Office of Student Life and the Office of Advancement has been happening for the past five years with the goal of making students understand the importance of philanthropy.

Ken Brill, the director of the Office of Student Life, shares his thoughts on the fundraiser. 

“Our role is to engage students, to help students understand philanthropy and why giving to nonprofits like Augustana is a good thing,” Brill said. “And it’s important to Augustana to raise funds to balance the budget and to create exciting opportunities.”  

Erin Williams, director of annual giving, said that Augustana benefits from having a fund that goes into different parts of the school. 

The funds are utilized during emergency situations such as the COVID outbreak and can be implemented into different aspects of student life. The flexibility of the funds helps with the utilization of the money.  

“It impacts every student on campus, and so it meets the most immediate needs of our students, and it helps us with scholarships. It also helps to respond to things that come up that are the most immediate needs of the campus,” Williams said.   

Junior Rachel Murray said that she chose to donate at Blue, Gold & Bold this year to an area that is important to her. 

“This year I chose to donate it to the English Education Department because my best friend is an English education major,” Murray said.

According to Annette Schneider, an employee in the office of student life, there are many different details to consider for this event, and several different offices work together to make everything right. 

“We had to do all the ordering of the activities today. We had to make sure we marketed right, so the students knew what was going on. And I know it’s even longer in the fundraising offices in the college because they also are trying to get alumni donations,” Schneider said. 

Schneider said that the money collected from the donations goes into bettering student programs, such as the athletics department. Donors are allowed to designate the money to specific organizations and events on campus.  Students who donated during the event can also designate where the money goes and they can specify which program and department they would like to support.  

“This is kind of the added push needed to make Augie great,” Schneider said. “People can designate to certain funds that they want, and in fact, the basketball coach sent a wonderful email out to their supporters. And so we got some contributions to the basketball team.”

According to Williams, the final estimate of the amount raised from the fundraiser is $325,000 or more, all from student, faculty and other donors.