Entire campus encouraged

by Luke Kunach

Local media celebrity Robyne Robinson would like to see a change in peoples’ attitudes.
“During the past 10 to 20 years, we have cut ourselves off as who we are, and we have become detached from the community,” said Robinson, anchorwoman for television station KMSP. “The only time that we look outward is to point the finger at others to take the blame.”
David Taylor, dean of the General College, thinks he has a solution.
“I plan to be in peoples’ faces,” he said.
Together, Robinson and Taylor jointly head the 1998 University of Minnesota Community Fund Drive, which begins today and runs until Nov. 13. The yearly corporate campaign challenges University staff and faculty to donate to charitable organizations.
Under the direction of campaign coordinator Kathy Yaeger, members of the fund drive committee plan to focus this year on motivating and involving the entire campus community.
The theme of the campaign, Be One in Three With ME!, reflects the desire to increase participation to one-third of the University’s employees.
Two years ago, only 12 percent of the campus community took part in the fund drive. While that proportion increased to 22 percent last year, this year the organizers anticipate reaching 33 percent of the University’s 1,500 employees.
To accomplish this goal, fund drive members have made an effort to increase their exposure.
To combat procrastination, the organizers offer those who contribute within the first two weeks of the fund drive a chance to win a sweeping range of prizes, including airline tickets, a television set and gift certificates.
Organizers hope this promotion, called the Early Givers Prize Drawing, will set a positive spin on the fund drive and provide a surge of momentum to carry them to their goal.
“We really think that this year people will get excited,” said Yaeger, anticipating that the drawing will make the most dynamic impact upon the participation rate.
Contributors are offered eight umbrella organizations from which to choose. Within these charitable organizations, contributors have the choice to designate the funds to hundreds of more specific organizations. The organizers hope to cater to the entire campus community’s interests.
“We want to offer a broad opportunity for choice,” said Yaeger.
Robinson will be on the Minneapolis campus today to promote the campaign. At 12:30 p.m., she will be handing out popcorn on Northrop Plaza, and at 1 p.m. she will begin a golf cart crusade to spread the call for participation across campus. Robinson will be on the St. Paul campus on Wednesday.
Taylor is a veteran of the Community Fund Drive. Last year, the General College had a participation rate of 80 percent. He hopes to transfer that success into this year’s campaign.
“What I’m after is a community statement; that as a community, we understand the need to give to the arts and to agencies which help,” he said.
While the Community Fund Drive is directed primarily towards University employees, Taylor invites students to participate also. “We will accept gifts from whoever wants to join the community of giving,” he said.