Student Philanthropy Month celebrated throughout November

Liz Kovac, Engagement Editor

During the month of November, all student organizations, including club sports, can compete to raise the most money for their organization or a university fund of their choice as part of Student Philanthropy Month (SPM).

Oakland University’s Office of Annual Giving (OAG) began promoting Student Philanthropy Month in 2014. Since then, students have raised over $20,000 for student organizations.

“The totals raised really depend on the effort students put into fundraising,” said Adrian Benedict, assistant director of annual giving at OU.

As a further incentive, the student organization or club sport that raises the most money will receive $1,000, while second place receives $500 and third receives $250.

Though those dollar signs look appealing, Benedict said to be sure to do your research before you throw your hat in the ring.

“We encourage students to reach out to us to ensure that they understand all of the rules before they begin,” Benedict said.

For example, only enrolled, active students can participate in SPM, and all funds raised and prizes awarded during SPM stay within the university.

Hosting an ice cream social called “Get the Scoop” in October, the OAG explained how student organizations could make the most of SPM while competing in its two categories. The first is the participation category, which measures the amount of student donors that gave to an organization. The second is the fundraising category, which measures the amount of money raised by an organization.

Out of nearly 300 student organizations on campus, one student organization has continually come out on top during SPM.

“For the past two years we’ve won the $1,000 prize,” said Sarah Anthony, vice president of the Meadow Brook Ball Committee (MBBC). “That is our goal again this year.”

When asked about its fundraising strategies, Anthony explained that MBBC executes several small efforts like a can drive, a change fundraiser and a bake sale.

“Little ways to get money add up,” she said.

MBBC uses these tactics not only during SPM, but throughout the year, as it holds a can drive every month, hosts a restaurant and bowling fundraiser, and calls on businesses to offer their support.

When calling on businesses, Anthony suggests bringing some sort of visual presentation and believes engaging in a conversation is the most effective approach.

“It depends on the business, but most of the time you can just walk in,” she said. “They are usually more than happy to lend support.”

Another student organization participating in SPM is the Oakland Chorale, which plans to put its fundraising profits toward its 2020 European Concert Tour, where it will be featured in performances in Budapest, Hungary, Batislava, Slovakia, Brno, Czechia and Prague.

“As someone that participated in a European tour as a freshman at OU in 2017, I can say from experience that a trip like this is truly life changing for a musician that studies at the university level,” Oakland Chorale President Tyler Dargis said.

This elaborate tour doesn’t come without a price tag, however.

“We are fundraising so heavily this year because many students cannot afford a trip of this extent along with tuition and other financial obligations,” Dargis said. “I want to give each member of the Oakland Chorale an experience that they will remember and one that will impact them for the rest of their lives.”

Benedict believes money equals opportunities, and SPM is all about eliminating obstacles and opening doors.

“The Office of Annual Giving team is here to help student orgs and club sports teams fundraise,” she said. “We are available to discuss the resources we have available to them and to encourage them to take part in Student Philanthropy Month.”

Those interested in SPM can stop by the Office of Annual Giving in 101 Anibal House on Mondays through Fridays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.