This past June, “We Are SU: The Campaign for Salisbury University” publicly kicked off its fundraising journey toward a $75 million goal to support student scholarships, programs and an array of campus-wide needs.
Jason Curtin, vice president for Advancement and External Affairs, also serving as executive director of the Salisbury University Foundation, is immensely excited about the unique purpose of the fundraising effort.
“The campaign is really about the people that make up Salisbury University … it’s an investment in people," Curtin said.
While previous fundraising themes have focused on physical improvements, such as Perdue Hall and Sea Gull Stadium in 2010 when $40 million was raised, “We Are SU” wants to support the needs of individuals.
According to the administration, not only will students benefit from greater scholarship funds and faculty from better investment in programs, but schools such as the Honors College and the College of Health and Human Services also need private support for their members.
Michelle Pryor, SU’s annual giving coordinator, runs a multitude of giving-back programs for the campaign and sees every day the impacts on students.
“All those things that students do on a daily basis to make their resume look so good —travel, extracurriculars, scholarships, research, going to conferences — we can provide all of those things by fundraising for them, by everyone participating in the campaign.”
Student clubs and organizations also benefit tremendously from campaign funds.
The women's rugby team, for example, recently got to go to the national championship because of the money it was able to raise a few months prior.
Additionally, the Kickboxing Club raised around $25,000 for practice space and equipment, and it now boasts many more members as a successful organization.
Currently sitting at around $52 million raised, any gift donated to the university counts toward the "We Are SU" campaign.
Curtin highly encourages anyone to donate — students, staff, parents, alumni — and suggests using the campaign website that can direct potential donors how and where to give. For alumni specifically, there is an annual fund office that allows former Sea Gulls to give any dollar amount they choose so they can “get in the habit of giving.”
“There is a legacy of people that are here, so when you go around and see the names on these buildings and the names of the schools like the Perdues and the Hensons and the Seidels, those are families that made an investment in this place because they believe in it, and their investment pays off today,” said Curtin.
There are events within the “We Are SU” campaign to encourage fundraising, such as SU’s Day of Giving and the Student Scholarship Luncheon. This year, the events will be held on the same day in April.
On Giving Day, students, staff and alumni are able to give to the university’s departments, clubs and organizations or even the university as a whole.
“If it exists, you can give to it,” Pryor said.
Donors even typically match the gifts 2:1, so a student’s $25 donation becomes a $75 donation. Consequently, last year’s Giving Day brought in about $200,000 of gifts in one day, where around 40% of the donors were students.
Curtin anticipates that in three years, the $75 million goal will be reached, just in time to celebrate SU’s 100-year anniversary in 2025.
“We have some pretty unique gifts that we’re hoping we can announce soon,” Curtin said.
More information can be found on the campaign web page.
By JAKOB TODD
Featured image: Salisbury University image.