Dragons called to show thanks

BY MARIE VEILLETTE
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The Alumni Foundation is hosting the first-ever Dragon Week of Thanks this week in an effort to showcase how much foundation donors support students at MSUM.

Throughout the week various activities will take place across campus to give students an idea of all the different things donors fund as well as provide an opportunity for students to thank those donors.

This year 526 students received a donor funded scholarship from the Alumni Foundation. As part of raising awareness for the big impact donations play in MSUM students’ lives, all of the 526 students were given a special tag to attach to their backpacks. Anna Miller, director of annual giving at the Alumni Foundation, said she hopes students will “wear the backpack tags with pride.”

Though many students may believe the only people affected by donations from the foundation are scholarship recipients, many departments and services on campus are supported in some way from donations. One of the main goals of the week is to impress on students the true extent they are impacted by donations, even if none of the money goes directly to them.

To truly show the diversity in donations, locations to participate in the thank you effort are spread across campus. All week, students can write a postcard thanking a donor. Locations to fill out a postcard are in the bookstore, the athletic office in Nemzek 106, the wellness center and the ROC. All of these locations are in some way supported by donations to the Alumni Foundation.

Miller said these postcards will create a more personal thank you and will help to “build a connection from donor to student impacted.”

Wednesday will be the most eventful day of the week. On this day, students can record a short thank you video on the campus mall, weather permitting. The messages will be edited together into one video and then emailed to all the donors. The video will also be posted on YouTube.

Along with recording a video, students will have the opportunity to sign a banner thanking donors to the foundation.

Miller said their goal of this week is to “thank donors a lot.” She said that in the past scholarship recipients were encouraged to send a thank you, but no students ever really thanked donors for the multitude of other things they support besides scholarships. “Scholarships are the one thing we talk about a lot,” Miller said. “But many students use the wellness center and a large portion of it was funded by donations.

However, this Dragon Week of Thanks would not have been possible without the help of public relations and advertising junior,  Rebekah Ronningen.

The honors apprentice chose to fulfill her two years working with the Alumni Foundation. She said her choice to work with the foundation was easy to make. Ronningen said through Miller’s help, she got the scholarship. Ronningen added that she was a student worker for the foundation and that she “knew the ladies here and talked about what could be done.”

Ronningen said the planning and preparation has allowed her to test her skills relating to her degree while also helping the foundation.

Ronningen has a great deal of time invested in this week. She began researching in fall semester and is finally putting all her hard work into something tangible. Because the honors apprentice program spans two years, Ronningen says she will revise the week-long program based on this year’s results and repeat it next year.

Information about the Alumni Foundation and how to participate in the Dragon Week of Thanks can be found posted in each department, on floor stickers, posters and table tents.

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