Students win big with Campaign for Change

Jackie Valley

Katie Gazzuolo, senior marketing and business management major, donated $10 in the fall to Kent State’s first student philanthropy initiative, the Campaign for Change, as a way of giving back to the university.

But during finals week, Gazzuolo learned she was getting much more than her original $10 donation back. She was one of eight student winners randomly selected to each receive a $500 scholarship created from the money donated to the Campaign for Change.

“It was unexpected,” Gazzuolo said. “I didn’t donate for the scholarship aspect.

“I donated because this program has the potential to be a nationally recognized program that could put Kent State on that higher tier.”

Kelly Brant, assistant director of Annual Giving, said nearly 250 students donated money to the Campaign for Change — helping bring the total to $4,000, including parent donations.

The Campaign for Change began in the fall semester as a way to encourage student philanthropy by allowing the donations to directly benefit students. All students who donated money were eligible to win one of eight scholarships formed by the donations.

Brant said she hopes this year’s success spurs more student involvement next year, regardless of the type of participation.

“It’s key in making a difference, whether it’s time, talent or treasure,” she said.

To prepare for next year, Brant said she is “looking for volunteers to spread the word about philanthropy” by joining the C4C Squad to help promote the campaign through peer interactions and innovative ideas for improvement.

Brant said the Campaign for Change will officially begin again next fall when students can begin submitting donations.

Even so, Brant said parents can continue to donate money via credit cards or pledge cards. Parents’ pledge cards that have not been fulfilled this year will also go toward next year’s fund.

Although Brant said the Campaign for Change is “still a student philanthropy campaign,” the positive response from parents yielded $25 and $50 donations, which boosted the fund’s total.

Brant said Kent State will continue to build upon the Campaign for Change in the future to make it a campus tradition with the potential to provide more than eight scholarships eventually.

When the campaign reaches $25,000, it will become an endowed scholarship.

“The possibilities are endless, so that’s why we’re so dedicated to this,” she said.

In the meantime, winner Christina Bucur, freshman mathematics major, said she suggests students get involved for the “good feeling” associated with helping someone else in addition to the possibility of winning.

“I never expected to win,” she said. “Just because you think you won’t win doesn’t mean you won’t win.”

Contact administration reporter Jackie Valley at [email protected].