Last Thursday, Feb. 14 the Department of Communication coupled with the Office of Institutional Advancement to launch its newest fundraising campaign, “COM 3:1,” in an hour-long event of communication-themed activities on the fourth floor of Buhl Hall.
The fundraising campaign is an effort to raise an appropriate amount of funds to assist the department in its efforts to upgrade the television and remote production broadcasting equipment.
Stacey Brodak, vice president of Institutional Advancement and University Relations attended the kickoff event and has played a key role in working towards making the upgrades possible for the department.
“In leading our Institutional Advancement Department, we’re largely in charge of looking at development and fundraising for the university,” Brodak said. “From the time that I started, we’ve always had a wish list of things that we would like to raise funds for priority projects and needs for the university. The Department of Communication’s upgrades for equipment has been on that [to-do] list from the time I arrived in 2017.”
Through Institutional Advancement, the Department of Communication and President Douglas Lee, a proposal was designed and presented to the Stover Foundation. Brodak said a lot of talking amongst the parties went on before the proposal was finalized.
“After a lot of discussion and preparation, [President Lee] had a proposal for them,” said Brodak. “When they funded it, it really gave us an opportunity to see how we could fulfill, and they came back with the challenge grant and the good news was it left us a smaller piece to raise but we still have an effort to put forth.”
Richard Krause, chairperson for the Department of Communication, said he is excited about the program and believes the kickoff event, planned by communication students exemplified the community-like feel that he sees on the floor every day.
“I was very pleased with the student participation, we had a very good turnout despite having a couple conflicts in schedule,” Krause said. “Our fundamental goal for this was creating awareness among the student population within the department, it wasn’t a day to raise money. It was a day to develop a sense of community and team that we’re all working together towards a common goal and we had to do something that had a speaking portion to it, but the activities were the most important part. We wanted the students to have fun and I think we achieved that. I was pretty happy with the way the day had gone.”
Krause also said he is enthusiastic for the campaign itself and the impact it will have on the department. He said that a three-to-one match in a fundraising campaign is unique, but something the department is thankful to both the Stover Foundation and President Lee for.
“The way the process will work is that we’ve established a goal of $125,000 to raise, raising $125,000 means that the Stover Foundation will contribute $375,000, hence our $500,000 goal,” Krause said. “I had some preliminary meetings with the president regarding equipment challenges we were experiencing in the department. The president has been absolutely instrumental in making this happen, he’s a strong advocate for this department and its students, and we can’t thank him enough for what he’s made possible.”
Brodak echoed Krause in that the student involvement is great to see, especially from a university perspective.
“My experience in working with our donors and people that give [is that] they don’t give because I ask, they give because they recognize the benefit it has to a student,” she said. “The more we can engage our students in some way, whether it be a part of the campaign or just get to know and understand them more and what they want to do the better.”
Students from a communication class developed the video, brochure and activities for the campaign launch and worked actively with Institutional Advancement and branding for the campaign itself.
“It has been a really nice pilot project for us to work with the students in that regard and let them take their academic skills and knowledge and apply it to a real-world opportunity,” Brodak said. “It works to the benefit of everyone, the students are more involved and producing a real piece that has a real impact, and it’s meaningful to the university and our donors. The university feels it is a mutual win-win for everybody.”
More events will continue to help as part of the ongoing fundraising campaign, with the department looking to make the upgrades in the near future.