First Drake Philanthropy Week emphasizes giving back

This year, Valentines Day took on a larger meaning at Drake University, as the first day of Philanthropy @ Drake — a week devoted to celebrating the impact of philanthropy on campus.

“The goal was to raise awareness that everyone at Drake is touched by philanthropy,” said Blake Campbell,

GR’05, director of alumni and parent relations, “and to help students understand that Drake is what it is because of a 130-year history of giving back.”

Throughout the week, students, faculty and staff participated in a variety of activities designed to emphasize the connection between philanthropy and their Drake experience.

A few hundred students, staff and faculty wore Philanthropy @ Drake t-shirts and buttons and signs were posted across campus noting the services and amenities provided through philanthropy.

On Monday, organizers blitzed the campus with Philanthropy @ Drake messages. A few hundred people wore Philanthropy @ Drake t-shirts and buttons, and signs were posted across campus noting the services and amenities provided by philanthropy, including water in the drinking fountains and the renovation of Drake Stadium.

“It was interesting learning that donations contribute so much to Drake — like funding for Hubbell Dining Hall. I realized that the spots we go to every day wouldn’t be there without people supporting the University,” said sophomore Michael Reibel, “I realized the extent to which alumni [and others] support the University – and that we should return the favor.”

As the week progressed, over 300 students wrote thank you notes to University supporters and Twitter was abuzz with reports of students and faculty doing good deeds for each other on DU Good 4 Drake Day.

“People brought cookies to class, picked up trash, paid for others’ parking and gave their roommates control of the remote. Even the Drake squirrel opened the door for someone,” said Jonathan Brendemuehl, JO’08, GR’10, assistant director, alumni and parent relations.

While the week’s activities focused on the tangible aspects of philanthropy, “Ultimately, philanthropy is about the feelings it invokes,” said Campbell, “You feel a connection to something and want to make a difference.”

Campbell and Brendemuehl both look forward to Philanthropy @ Drake becoming an annual tradition, but also hope the spirit of the week stays with people throughout the year.

Said Campbell, “I’d like people to think about the power of philanthropy . . . and remain critical about what they are doing to make a difference at Drake and in the community.”

— Sherry Speikers

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