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Blue Hens show their love

Photos by Alisha Lolk | Video by Jason Hinmon

First-ever I Heart UD Giving Day exceeds its goal, thanks to Blue Hens everywhere

Blue Hens from around the world spread the University of Delaware love, making the first-ever I Heart UD Giving Day an overwhelming success.

At 11 p.m. on May 9, the official end of the Giving Day, a total of 2,049 donors had given to a variety of University causes promoted by student groups, colleges, faculty, alumni and other University partners. The collective support raised more than $317,000 for UD’s people and programs. The numbers continue to grow as Blue Hens are still supporting the projects.

The end result bypassed the original goal of inspiring 1,743 donors in 1,743 minutes — paying homage to the University’s founding year—to give to a UD cause close to their hearts.

“I think I can speak on behalf of the entire UD community when I say ‘thank you’ to all of the generous Blue Hens who helped us make history with our first I Heart UD Giving Day,” said Lauren Simione, Class of 1995 and assistant vice president of alumni engagement and annual giving. “Exceeding our goal is amazing, but even more incredible is how the collective gifts will impact our students, faculty, programs and campus.”

I Heart UD Giving Day

Supporters chose from a list of 42 projects to make their gifts. Throughout the day, hourly and daily challenges encouraged donors to make a gift to a featured project on the site, providing opportunities to boost the funds raised for it.

The African Violet Scholarship Fund project was a challenge standout. The Mu Pi chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority established the fund in 2017 to provide an annual scholarship to a full-time student from an underrepresented group with a demonstrated commitment to academics, public service and leadership.

The group made a push for donors during the challenge hours at 10 and 11 a.m. and 2, 6, and 8 p.m., getting the most donors in those hours and “unlocking” an additional $14,000 for the fund for a total of $20,611 raised.

“We’re definitely competitive so it wasn’t hard to get the push from our supporters for the challenges,” said Tia Bolden, Class of 1993 and co-chair of the African Violet scholarship endowment. “We all really believe in creating this scholarship and paying it forward. We were the first Black sorority on campus and we’ll be the first Black sorority to create an endowed scholarship. The 11 women who founded our sorority in 1975 paved the way for us to come to school here and succeed, so we want to support future leaders here at UD.”

Tammy Smith, Class of 1996 and co-chair of the scholarship endowment, said that Giving Day was a great way to bring awareness to other projects and programs happening at UD.

“With giving day we’ve obviously been pushing people to support our fund, it was a great opportunity for them to see other projects and support them as well,” Smith said. “Some of them are alumni who don’t donate at all and they gave to our fund and other projects.”

Other projects on Giving Day included the Black Alumni Organization Endowed Scholarship, Engineers Without Borders: International Water Access, the General Scholarship Fund, the Parents Fund and UD Chorale.

In addition to the digital efforts on I Heart UD Giving Day, 17 events were held around the country, including New York, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Houston and South Florida. The gatherings brought Blue Hens together to show their blue and gold pride while celebrating why they love UD.

Alumni, friends, parents, faculty, staff and students also took their love to social media. The event hashtag, #iheartUD, was trending throughout the day with photos of UD supporters holding signs sharing messages like: “I love UD because I taught in the best lab school in the country,” “I love UD because I met my wife there,” “I love UD because Blue Hens give leaders a chance to grow and thrive.”

I Heart UD on campus

More than 2,000 students, faculty and staff members swarmed The Green for games, giveaways, gratitude and goodies as they shared how they learn, love and give at UD.

In addition to fun activities like corn hole, Frisbee throwing and Class Cab trivia, students earned an I Heart UD tank top by writing thank you notes to first-time UD donors. For a photo gallery of campus events, click here.

“The students are really writing very detailed and meaningful notes to the donors,” said Hannah Young, Class of 2018, who helped with the event. “They’re sharing why they love UD and how grateful they are for the support. I think it means a lot coming from them because they are part of what makes UD, UD.”

For more results, visit www.udel.edu/iheartUD or to make a gift to support your favorite UD program, click here.

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