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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

Gratitude and grant for Wofford’s first annual “Day of Thanks”

Photo by Brandi Wylie Students write thank-you notes to donors outside of the Main Building on Tuesday, Nov. 1.

The Wofford community is an elaborate network of individuals united together through the appreciation of a liberal arts education. 

Wofford alumni and other donors are a monumental piece of this network. Without their financial contributions, many students would not have been able to attend Wofford, and the campus development would not be the same. 

Wofford makes continual efforts to encourage students to write thank-you notes to those who  donate to scholarships and college development.

In the past, the Office of Philanthropy and Engagement has coordinated for students that have endowed scholarships to write letters to their specific donor for that year. 

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This year, the team in the Office of Philanthropy + Engagement, led by Director of Donor Relations Elizabeth Shuler ‘07,  wanted to approach thanking donors in a different way.

The Office of Philanthropy + Engagement decided they would dedicate the first day of November to thanking the donors that contribute to the Wofford community. They chose to hold the event in November because it is a month of increased thankfulness.

They also decided to host the event in front of Old Main, as its central position on campus increased foot traffic, naturally helping to get more students involved. 

Additionally, they decided to have different food items and gifts to serve as incentives for students to attend. They gave away Chick-fil-a biscuits in the morning, Moe’s around lunch and Health In Hand smoothies in the afternoon. 

“I thought it would be good for me to go and write on this day of thanks, but I also got a really yummy biscuit out of it,” Claire Taylor ‘26 said. 

Recent graduate members of the team of Philanthropy + Engagement office heavily contributed to the development of food and other giveaway items throughout the day. 

They also selected a handful of students to act as Day of Thanks ambassadors for the event, promoting their involvement on social media to increase traffic in that regard as well.

“We identified a diverse group of students that post frequently on social media, have a wide reach across campus, and are involved in a bunch of different organizations,” Shuler said. 

The use of ambassadors proved to be incredibly successful. Over 30 percent of the students that participated in Wofford Day of Thanks were sent to participate by one of the office’s event ambassadors. 

The Office of Philanthropy + Engagement is currently exploring what it would look like to have permanent ambassadors in their office. 

Every donor that had given to Wofford since Jan. 31, 2022 was eligible to be written to during the event, including those who recently gave during A Day for Wofford. 

The office initially aimed to have 200 students participate in their first annual Wofford Day of Thanks. A total of 213 students participated.

In total, Shuler estimates there were 500 donors who had thank-you notes written to them during the day. Each student that participated was asked to write two thank-you notes. Some students participated multiple times throughout the day, and faculty and staff wrote some as well. 

Shuler and the rest of the Office of Philanthropy + Engagement team are satisfied with turnout; however, there are some ways for improvement that have been discussed, such as the timing of the event.

There were two large periods during the day where not a lot was happening at the tables. Shuler suggests that in the future, it could be spread out over a week, allowing for more participation. 

Even though Taylor is only in her first semester at Wofford, she recognizes the impact that donors have had on giving her the opportunity to have a great career in higher education. 

“I think the opportunities that Wofford has provided me and the generosity of people here to give me what I need to have a successful college career is such a gift,” Taylor said. “Being able to personally thank those who make that possible is so important.” 

The Office of Philanthropy + Engagement is aiming toward a more involved approach going forward. They are also devoted to forming stronger ties to the student body, making them more aware of what the office has to offer. 

“The Wofford experience is made possible by many generous donors. We want to make students aware of that and recognize that, in hopes that when they graduate, they will give back their time, talent, or treasure,” Shuler said. 

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Katie Kirk
Katie Kirk, Managing Editor
Government Major from Greenville, SC
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