Once a year, for 24 hours, all hands are on deck to gather donations for scholarships, academic programs, athletics and more at Dixie State University.
Trailblazer Day of Giving is an annual event focused on supporting programs and students across campus through donations. This year’s Day of Giving happened April 12 and marks the third year of the event.
Brooks Burr, development officer, helped to initiate Trailblazer Day of Giving after talking with his colleagues about what they could do to encourage donation efforts throughout the university.
“It’s a 360 view of some of the needs we have across campus, across departments and also just a general spotlight on where resources could be best utilized,” Burr said.
One program the event funds is the struggling student fund. Burr said the fund helps students cover rent, mechanical costs for their cars, and even enables them to purchase food if they can’t afford it.
“There’s members of our campus community that don’t have homes, can’t pay their rent, or can’t afford to eat, so we feature that fund specifically on the bottom of the website,” Burr said.
Cindy Biehahn, advancement services manager, encourages students and community members to visit the website for Trailblazer Giving Day so they can find a cause they connect with. For students who want to donate directly to the program they are majoring in, there are several scholarship funds specific to each academic program.
“They [students] can give scholarships in the name of a professor that they really admire,” Biehahn said.
Susan Ertel, an associate English professor, said donations can be made in a variety of ways including a one-time donation or even payroll deduction giving. On Trailblazer Day of Giving, alumni can expect to hear from students who are working a phone bank to remind them of the importance of this event.
“If you’re an employee of the university, you can do payroll deductions so that a little bit of your paycheck goes to the general scholarship fund every time you get paid,” Ertel said.
Ertel encouraged employee involvement by giving them a challenge. Faculty who had never participated in the payroll deduction givings had to enroll in the program in order to be eligible for the challenge. If the total of amount of givings from payroll deductions added up to $500, Ertel would match that amount with her own money.
For students who may not have the means to donate, Beihahn said students can provide non-monetary gifts to other students by donating items to the food pantry on campus or looking for areas or students who need extra support. Burr said sharing posts about the Day of Giving with friends and family can also increase coverage for the event.
As for how this year’s Day of Giving went, the university received donations from two St. George businesses, Vasion, a software company, and Zonos, a company that helps simplify e-commerce. Beihahn also said DSU manages to bring in new donors every year who can support students and organizations on-campus.
“I think we did just as well, we were a little skeptical of how well we were going to do just because of the changes that are taking place [on campus],” Beihahn said.
The Trailblazer Day of Giving serves as an event where everyone including students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members can come together to support the university and fund scholarships that allow students to continue their education at DSU.
“It’s really important that we have the funds and the partnerships created so that we can give our students the opportunities that will help them succeed,” Beihahn said.