Student leaders kickoff Legacy Campaign


 
Theresa Popp Braun (left), chair of the BGSU Foundation, with (left to right) Ryan Sowers, chair of the campaign; BGSU President Mary Ellen Mazey; Undergraduate Student Government President Alex Solis and Undergraduate Student Trustee Beau Slater.

BOWLING GREEN, O.—A core group of student leaders pledged to donate $5,000 of their own money to the University as part of the kickoff of the first Student Legacy Campaign, a student-driven philanthropic effort to encourage the entire student body to contribute to Bowling Green State University. The campaign leaders introduced the campaign during an event Sept. 7 inside the Bowen-Thompson Student Union.

“We want to engage every single student on this campus to truly care about what is going on and understand how important each of us to the livelihood of this university,” said campaign chair Ryan Sowers, a junior majoring in business and marketing education from Cincinnati. He is also an Alumni Laureate Scholar and a Morale Captain for Dance Marathon 2013.

The effort is unique for BGSU, which previously has held philanthropic campaigns to encourage upperclassmen to give to the University. The goal is for the entire student body to raise $250,000 in philanthropic gifts.

The money will be used to recreate a gateway to campus. Wrought-iron gates once stood at Thurstin Avenue and Court Street to designate the main entrance to campus.

“This is an effort that comes from the students,” said Dr. Mary Ellen Mazey, BGSU president, during the event. “You will change the entire University when you change the gateway to this great place.”

Foundation Board President and alumna Theresa Popp Braun surprised the student organizers of the campaign with her own pledge to match donations up to $5,000 — effectively doubling the student leaders’ pledge. Dr. Mazey credits her for “planting the seed” for the student philanthropy campaign.

“I’m so proud of this group of student leaders who have stepped up,” Popp Braun said. “I think that it will develop a culture of philanthropy amongst our students while they are here, and that will carry over to a lifetime of giving and support.”

Sowers invited five of his peers to join the committee, because each brought unique leadership experience. There is Alex Solis, president of Undergraduate Student Government and a junior majoring in sports management from Lincoln Park, Mich.; David Neely, vice president of Undergraduate Student Government and a junior majoring in accounting and finance from Perrysburg; Evan Colyer, administrative resident advisor in Founders Residence Hall and a junior majoring in biochemistry and pre-medicine from Springfield; Beau Slater, undergraduate student representative for the BGSU Board of Trustees and a senior majoring in applied science and pre-medicine major from Beavercreek; and Sarah Swegan, Director of Dance Marathon 2012 and a senior majoring in human development and family studies.

Now, the students on the committee hope that their peers will reach deep into their pockets to support the campaign. Swegan said it will be worth it to forgo fast food to save the cash to meet her pledge.

“Students (must) see how much Bowling Green gives to us,” Swegan said. “Asking for dollars, that’s not asking a lot.”

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(Posted September 10, 2012 )