Successful fundraising campaign benefits students, major NU projects

After three years, Norwich University has concluded its principal fundraising initiative, the “Bearing the Torch” campaign. The campaign formally ended with the end of 2012.

“We set forth this initiative because we needed to, on top of our annual goals, raise some excess dollars to do other projects all across campus,” said Hilary Davis, the director of class giving for the university.

Since “Norwich 2000” was set in motion in 1984, “Bearing the Torch” is the fifth fundraising campaign in a row that has exceeded its goal.

According to Norwich officials, “Bearing the Torch” surpassed its original $20.2 million dollar goal and raised over $24 million dollars.

“A lot of the success is from communication efforts,” Davis said, referring to the additional money raised above the original targets through the campaign. “(It has been) from engagement with our alumni to holding a lot of club events throughout the country.”

Over the course of the past few years, 250 Norwich University sponsored events were held annually worldwide in order to help raise money, according to Davis. Anyone can be a part of the fundraiser, from parents to alumni, and even current students.  “It’s an all-inclusive effort, and really goes back to participation,” she said.

“The most money comes from alumni, I’m sure,” said Maria Jennar, 21, a junior criminal justice major from Boston, Mass. “The school is always getting money from past students to help make the Norwich experience a better one.”

The money donated helps improve different aspects of the university. Davis says that the funds raised go into three main categories to support the school and student life: Student scholarships, academic enhancements and student-life enhancements are the top priorities for the funds received, according to Davis.

“Scholarships are kind of self-explanatory,” she said. “We’re trying to raise more money for the endowment to spit out money to give to incoming students and students that are here to help pay the cost for a private education.”

Many students benefit, such as Blake Perry, a 19 year-old freshman English major from Albany, N.Y. He says that scholarships have a huge impact on the student population.

“A college education in general is hard to pay for,” he said. “So being enrolled in a private university requires scholarships. Nowadays it’s almost impossible to afford this type of education without them.”

The academic enhancement, Davis says, is for research opportunities for faculty and students.

“If the academic enhancement wasn’t funded than the university would not be able to give students the opportunity to do certain things, such as study abroad,” Jennar said of the opportunities available to students through NU’s fundraising efforts.

Davis explains that the student life enhancements benefit sports teams and the entire student body as a whole.

“This fundraiser affects the student body in every way shape and form,” said Austin Greene, 21, a junior communications major from Hanover, Mass. “Sabine Field, for example, is probably one of the biggest renovations the school has ever needed.”

According to Greene, a lacrosse player at NU, the Sabine Field renovation directly affects almost every sports team here, as well as the recruiting process, and being able to play in harsher conditions.

“If you look at Krietzberg, when they built the rink, we were able to attract a national championship hockey team,” Davis said. “In hopes with renovating Sabine, we’re going to allow better recruitment efforts for athletes as well as other student life opportunities.”

According to students like Greene, the “Bearing the Torch” fundraiser affects the student body immensely and without it, the university would not be where it is today. “I’ve been here since the fall of 2010 and there has been just nothing but improvements as far as the school has gone,” Greene said. “I’ve seen the corps population rise and the civilian population has came a long way and really has made this school unique.”

The money raised goes directly towards the quality of life for the student body, Davis explains. “It’s all about student-life improvement, trying to take what the student experience is now and making it better.”

Many students across campus do not realize how much effort is put in to improving Norwich for the students, Perry says.

“Norwich has great traditions, and that should never change,” he said. “But you also must keep up with the modern times to keep students coming in.”

“The ‘Bearing the Torch’ fundraiser was created for the ongoing needs of the university,” Davis said, aimed at meeting the growing desires of the ever-changing student body.

“As we recruit better and better students, they’re going to expect more and more opportunities offered to them and that comes at a cost. Just a simple operating budget keeps the lights on, keeps people employed, and keeps what we need here to happen, but the donations really bring things up to the next level.”

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