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September 29, 2023

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Legacy Campaign builds student pride

There are other things students can donate to the University besides money, as goes one of the core tenants of the Student Legacy Campaign.

Following its conception this past fall, the campaign’s members have developed a concrete direction and increased efforts to gain visibility and participation among students.

The campaign’s purpose is not only to raise money for the University but to build pride and a sense of community, said Ryan Sowers, a junior and chair of the student committee for the campaign.

“That sense that when you come to BG, this is your family,” Sowers said. “Even if you can’t give your money, give your time.”

The campaign’s main project is to raise money for the construction of a campus gateway to replace the Administration Building, which is slated to be demolished in the next few years. This would be a return to tradition, Sowers said, as there was a University gateway in the 1920s.

“Our goal is to further build the relationship of the community of BG to the student body,” Sowers said.

The campaign has raised nearly $20,000 for the gateway so far, with the goal of raising a total of $250,000 in three to five years. In February and March alone, the campaign received 120 donations, Sowers said.

“[The gateway is] a facet on campus that can be recognized by all students,” said Alex Solis, Undergraudate Student Government president and a campaign committee member. “It’s something that every student can rally around.”

The campaign plans to have other focuses besides just the gateway. The plan is to raise awareness, education and involvement in the group, Solis said.

Striving to gain traction among students, the campaign has used social media and philanthropy-related messages around campus this semester.

They began the semester with less than 400 Twitter followers. In the months since, they have increased to nearly 800 with a year-end goal of 1,000 followers.

“Social media plays a huge role in anything anyone does,” said Dylan Burley, a junior who handles the campaign’s multimedia. “That’s how we’re hoping to reach students on campus.”

To keep up with the growing following, the campaign is expanding its members and added five other committee chairs, Sowers said.

Looking towards next fall, Sowers said he would like to see the campaign set up additional service projects.

“Our goal is to come back very strong next year and ensure the [Student] Legacy Campaign goes on,” he said.

This year, The Student Legacy Campaign was highlighted by the Family Campaign as an option for donation.

The Family Campaign is composed of faculty, staff, administration and retirees who make gifts to scholarships and programs that are meaningful to them, said Shannon Spencer, the director of annual giving, in an email. They chose the Legacy Campaign because it is in line with The Family Campaign’s theme this year, “Our students. Our future,” she said.

“With our students seeking to build a culture of philanthropy in the student body, it seemed like a natural fit to support them and to let faculty and staff know about the students’ efforts,” Spencer said.

Sowers credits this recognition to the purpose of the campaign.

“It’s because people are passionate about BGSU … people understand donations, giving, is the lifeblood of this University,” he said.

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