Fund drive looks to provide for U future, aid whole community

Melinda Rogers

A biology professor being mercilessly dropped into a dunk tank? An English professor being slammed in the face with a cream pie? These are just two ways University faculty are raising money for the University community in the next few weeks.
University faculty kicked off their annual U Community Fund Drive on Oct. 16. The drive’s theme, “Rise to New Heights,” hopes to build on the success of the 1999 drive, which raised more than $835,000.
Events held during the fund drive by different University departments and colleges raise money for donation to eight local community organizations.
“The University is part of the larger community and the larger community is part of the University,” said Jim Mayland, co-coordinator of the fund drive. “It’s necessary for the University to extend a helping hand to the community that supports it.”
A variety of events including raffles, contests and social events are hosted by University faculty.
“We host events like ice-cream socials, pancake feeds, bake sales and pizza parties — last year one department had a dunk tank,” said co-coordinator Karen Lindquist.
“Last year, 29 percent of the faculty participated in the fund drive and this year our goal is to get as many people as possible to participate regardless of how much money is earned,” she said.
The money faculty earn is divided between eight organizations including the United Way, the Minnesota Environment Fund and Open Your Heart to the Hungry. Organizations are selected through an application process and the faculty have a direct voice in where the money they earn will go.
Faculty involved in the fund drive try to find inventive ways to raise awareness and enthusiasm, often by throwing in a little friendly competition between departments. Last year College of Liberal Arts offered a unique reward to the department in the college that raised the most money.
“The Career and Community Learning Center earned (CLA) Dean Rosenstone as an employee,” said Tom Trow, CLA director of community and cultural affairs and a former fund drive volunteer coordinator.
“Dean Rosenstone did filing and whatever else (the Career and Community Learning Center) wanted him to do for a day.”
The U Community Fund Drive will sponsor events through Nov.10 and donate earnings to the organizations soon after.
“It’s very important to support your community and to help people,” Lindquist said. “Sometimes people aren’t aware there are agencies out there to help them.”

Melinda Rogers welcomes comments at [email protected]