By Sydney Hakes
The Plattsburgh College Foundation, a nonprofit organization established to receive and redistribute all financial gifts given to SUNY Plattsburgh, hosted their annual campaign for Giving Tuesday. The day-long event took place Nov. 30, with a goal of 200 donors by the end of the day.
The first Tuesday following Thanksgiving was dubbed “Giving Tuesday” in 2012 by Henry Timms of the 92nd Street Y, a cultural and community center in New York City. It was co-founded by the United Nations Foundation, with strong support from BLK SHP, a guild of artists and innovators with a goal of social good.
SUNY Plattsburgh’s version of #GivingTuesday, stylized as #PlattsGive, hopes to encourage as many alumni as possible to give back to their alma mater.
Paula Bachman, the director of annual giving for the Plattsburgh College Foundation, organizes two large donation events every school year: #PlattsGive in the fall and Game on for Giving in the spring, a campaign that works alongside the athletics department to challenge each team to raise the most money.
There are around 400 designations within SUNY Plattsburgh that the money can go to, including specific departments and clubs. Donors have the ability to choose where their donation goes, and if not, it goes to the highest priority decided by the Plattsburgh College Foundation staff.
“All the money goes back to the students. At any given time, it can go to scholarships, career support, students who may need financial support, internships and so many other things,” Bachman said.
By the end of the day Nov. 30, the total number of donors was 217, and Bachman said it was likely a higher number with donations still being counted the following day.
Following the 2020 #PlattsGive, where many were struggling in the midst of the pandemic, Bachman said, “This was a great year. Even if COVID wasn’t hovering over people’s heads, it would still be a successful year for us.”
There are roughly 70,000 alumni from SUNY Plattsburgh. The foundation reaches out to as many as they are able through mail and networking. They encourage future graduates to keep contact with SUNY Plattsburgh and continue being a part of a network they chose to join when first attending.
One former student, Hayley Dewey-Hagborg, who graduated in 2016 with a biology major and chemistry minor, donates to the college every year. This year she split her donation between the biology department and the high priority.
“I have a special place in my heart for the biology program. I was able to do undergraduate research through this unique twelve credit, one semester program where I got to present my research at the end of the course. This and taking neurobiology have led me to success in my career today,” Dewey-Hagborg said.
She now works as an associate scientist at Intellia Therapeutics in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
For those who look at their loans or the amount they already paid to attend their school and wonder why the school would need more money, Bachman stressed that just growing the network of alumni supporting the college in this way is important.
“It is not about the amount. Many more factors rely on having a strong alumni network, including the reputation for the school. Your alma mater has an image that is valued by potential employers and supporting your college will support that image,” Bachman said.
Being a recent graduate, Dewey-Hagborg acknowledged it is hard for those more recently out of college to add a financial gift atop loans and debt.
“I hope that my little contribution can help aid someone to the success I have found thanks to my great experiences at SUNY Plattsburgh. I feel incredibly fortunate that I am able to give back this young and plan to continue this gift as long as I can,” Dewey-Hagborg said.
Smaller campaigns also occur throughout the year, and the foundation encourages gifts at any time. They can be made by selecting ‘Make a Gift’ on the SUNY Plattsburgh website.