The Gift of Opportunity
Alumni Relations and Student Alumni Society (SAS) teamed up to sponsor a week on campus called The Gift of Opportunity (or as the students prefer to call it, TGOP). The purpose of this week was to enhance the alumni/student connection and raise awareness of philanthropy across campus. The week-long program consisted of various events including a tag sale, outdoor volleyball fundraiser, and other programs that are designed to promote and foster the SAS motto, “Student Today, Bison Forever!”
What does 1416 mean? That is the number of donors that made a gift to Nichols College in fiscal year 2011. Why are we promoting this information? The students thanked the 1416 donors that made an investment to advance the Nichols College mission.
The marketing efforts of SAS around campus for this special event included fliers, social media posts, and even included sidewalk chalk. Many of the marketing materials included the phrases “1416 Donors Gave YOU a Gift Last Year” or “#TGOP2012 4-18-2012.” This was in an effort to make students aware of how many college alumni and friends contribute to Nichols College.
TGOP kicked off with SAS’s first ever tag sale. Price tags were created by SAS and placed on items throughout campus such as buildings, desks, chairs, etc. The tags read, “A culture of giving. A lifetime of impact.” The purpose was to demonstrate the importance of how every gift to the College makes a difference. Every SAS member was taught the meaning of the tags, so that when classmates asked questions, the members could easily explain the meaning. Talking with the students several days after the hanging of the tags, the feelings were that they did not realize how much items cost the College.
The second day of TGOP was kicked off by a trip to New York City to visit alumni and other historical sites. The trip included a visit to LinkedIn with Steve Malcolm ’01 and SAS members had lunch with Deb Cote ’92. The students visited the 9/11 memorial and culminating the trip was an amazing visit to Yankee Stadium to catch some night time baseball.
The pinnacle of TGOP occurred on April 18, 2012 during the lunch time hours on campus. Two stations were setup, one in front of Davis Hall and another in front of Lombard Dining Hall. Each station included postcards thanking donors for their gift, pizza and SAS members wearing their TGOP shirts. During this time 1,416 postcards were signed by students. This was the moment when students really understood why TGOP was important and that for the first time they had the opportunity to say “Thank you.”
The evening of April 18, 2012 was a special night on campus, as we had alumnus John Prenguber ’73 come and speak to students and other alumni about overcoming physical challenges in life. John Prenguber lost his legs, but overcame the challenges that faced him on a day to day basis. The presentation was an enlightening and a very encouraging presentation by John. The students walked away with a sense of strength about their current situations and a feeling of hope.
On April 19, 2012 the Alumni Association hosted their first ever Legacy Reception held at Nichols. The purpose was to bring back current students and their families that had once attended the College. The reception included eight families and over 20 alumni in attendance.
The finality of TGOP was Spike the Bison volleyball tournament. The tournament included over 60 students, three alumnae, and seven staff members participating in the tournament. The tournament included food and beverages for all the participants and spectators of Spike the Bison. For the first time alumni, students, and staff participated on a competitive platform that united the three into one for the day.
Overall, TGOP was the first program to increase awareness about philanthropy on campus. The event was a huge success in terms of student participation and the feelings toward the event. The future of the event will be sure to grow and become a staple for the campus and Student Alumni Society.
For more information on TGOP, please contact Dustin Timm '13, Student Alumni Society president, or Brianne Callahan, director of alumni relations and adviser for Student Alumni Society.
Facebook pages: Nichols College Alumni, Student Alumni Society
Twitter: @NicholsAlumni, @NC_SAS