As Utah State University while students geared up for finals and campus became covered in snow, two student-run groups planned weeklong activities to give students reasons to be thankful.
“People get super thankful around Thanksgiving and then it ends,” said Meghan Tatom, the student events vice president for the USU Student Association. “It’s a stressful time.”
The Student Alumni Association orchestrated its first “Donor Education Week,” held as a precursor to its annual “Love-a-Donor Week,” in February.
Members of SAA felt students should know more about how donors fund their experiences outside of the classroom at USU, so the week aimed to educate the student body.
“Our university can’t be run without donors,” said Daria Griffith, the SAA vice president. “It’s not just your big names like Quinney and Eccles and Huntsman. It’s your everyday donors that are giving $50 a year to fund student scholarships and things like that, that can help the university function beyond what the government gives us and what students pay in tuition.”
The week began with USU’s annual “Stuff-A-Bus” activity. On Sunday night, students piled into buses, drove to different communities and went door-to-door asking for nonperishable food items to donate to the Cache Community Food Pantry.
On Tuesday, students tied blankets for members of the community while participating in educational activities. Wednesday, SAA held a Bingo night with themed questions about USU donors. On Thursday, the group kicked off their new “young alumni series,” with a panel of recent USU graduates who provided school and career advice.
Tony Ahlstrom, the SAA student giving executive, said the week aims to plant feelings of love toward donors before “Love-A-Donor” week.
“We just wanted to take time to educate people and say ‘Hey, these are the things that Aggie alum are doing for you,'” he said. “It’s education and awareness, that’s what this week is all about.”
Ahlstrom added alumni donors are what promote a sense of “Aggie family.”
“There are over $5,300 that Aggies that donate every year,” he said. “Once you’re an Aggie, there’s 5,374 people invested in you and your education at all times.”
In conjunction with “Donor Education Week,” USUSA Blue Crew planned their second annual
“Thank You Week,” to help students stay in the spirit of thanks as the school year gets increasingly busier.
“It’s a stressful time, so there are lunchtime activities and you get to stop and think about the people you’re thankful for, and you get a little treat and go about your day,” Tatom said. “It’s not a long thing, but it like makes you stop and think about your life.”
On Monday, students could “thank themselves” with free Aggie Ice Cream. Tuesday, participants could “thank the people back home,” by writing letters to friends and relatives from home. Wednesday, students could sign a card thanking the U.S. Military. Thursday, students were encouraged to “thank their friends” by writing thank-you notes. To conclude the week, students could “thank their university,” by wearing Aggie-blue clothing and grabbing free candy on their way to class.
“It’s just to get people in that thanking mood,” Tatom said.