Five Things Alumni Need to Know This Week – March 26, 2018

1. Thursday is a BIG day on campus. First up, UCF Day of Giving encourages people to make a gift to what they love at UCF. The goal is to reach 1,000 donors in 24 hours. Whether you’re a first-time donor or a loyal annual donor, we need your support to achieve this ambitious goal that will help to ensure a strong future for UCF.

The Florida Board of Governors, which oversees the 12-member State University System, is scheduled to interview Provost and Executive Vice President Dale Whittaker and hold a confirmation vote for the president-elect on March 29, and  UCF Football will also hold its pro day.

2. UCF Athletics is hosting a yard sale prior to the Spring Game on April 21. Each of UCF’s 16 sports programs will have items available for sale, including polos/golf shirts, T-shirts footwear (cleats and other athletic shoes) and game jerseys.

3. Speaking of the Spring Game, the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center will host its first-ever Spring Game Indoor Tailgate on April 21 from 3-5 p.m. in celebration of our first-year head coach Josh Heupel! Just like the regular season tailgates, all UCF alumni (with driver’s license or valid ID) and their guests are welcome to attend this free event!

In honor of President John C. Hitt’s 26 years of service to UCF, we are also encouraging Knights to submit their best Hitt-selfies and well-wishes before his retirement from the presidency in June. Visit ucfalumni.com/greatesthitts to submit your heartfelt regards and photos, which will be shared with the man, myth and legend himself.

4. Last week, UCF announced the names of two new colleges and a new interdisciplinary, inter-college school, which are part of an academic reorganization. The new names of the colleges and school are: College of Health Professions and Sciences; College of Community Innovation and Education; and Nicholson School of Communication and Media.

5. The university’s faculty and staff believe in UCF, so much so that 1,870 of them donated to this year’s annual fundraising campaign during the month of February. Campaign results were announced last week. They raised nearly $71,000 in support of first-generation scholarships alone and also contributed to areas such as Knights Helping Knights Pantry, WUCF TV and the student emergency fund.

Bonus: Were you born to be a superhero? Take a 2-minute break this Monday and find out from this quiz. Remember, with great power comes great responsibility.

Five Funds Alumni Need to Know For Giving Tuesday

The countdown is on: Giving Tuesday is less than 24 hours away! Putting its own spin on days like Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, the global day of giving always falls on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving. So if you’re looking for ways to spread some positivity and embody the true meaning of the holiday season, consider making a gift to UCF.

Here are a few ways your generosity and passions can align to help Knights students and transform lives through the power of education:

1. UCF Athletics. Whether its big-time wins or setting the standard in the classroom among Division I FBS public institutions with a nation’s best 94-percent graduation rate, the Knights never cease to inspire us. To maintain their competitive excellence, they need our support in the areas of facilities, proper nutrition and scholarships.

2. First Generation Scholarships. Interested in really making an impact? Consider this: for every dollar you donate, the state of Florida offers a dollar-for-dollar match. One in four students at UCF is the first in his or her family to attend college, and they all could use a little help in ensuring the bright future they dream of.

3. College Excellence Funds. Did a certain professor make a difference for you? Did you love your time at UCF? Did your major  set you up for success in your professional life? This fund helps support scholarships and programs offered within each of UCF’s 13 colleges.

4. Study Abroad. Open up someone’s world. This fund is specifically designed to help make study abroad programs accessible to students with documented financial need.

5. Knights Helping Knights Pantry. It’s simple: This student-run organization’s No. 1 priority is to keep hungry Knights fed. It also offers other services like blazer rentals for job interviews, recipe inspiration, a partnership with the on campus arboretum and basic needs like toiletry products, clothing and blankets for any student.

This year, we hope to hit two major milestones on Giving Tuesday: 350 donors and $40,000. Please be one of the first to step up to join the mission and support something you believe in at UCF.

 

Holiday Helpers

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By Jenna Marina

ORLANDO, Fla. (Dec. 14, 2016) — The Knights Helping Knights Pantry found allies in the UCF Parent & Family Philanthropy Council and UCF College of Business Alumni Chapter this holiday season.

Related: Photo Gallery

Eight members of the parent council, which is newly formed this year, sorted professional clothing and packed 50 bags of roughly 270 pounds of food and supplies on Dec. 9. The bags of food are meant to help students get through winter break when the pantry is closed from Dec. 13 to Jan. 9.

“They’ve provided for at least 50 students, who are now going to be able to eat this holiday season. That’s what it comes down to,” Knights Pantry manager Jessica Roberts said. “I’m so glad we could work together. Knowing they didn’t just want to make a donation and have that be the end of it, but that they wanted to come in, work with the pantry, find out what we’re about, means a lot to me.”

The Knights Helping Knights Pantry has grown over the last seven years from a closet in the Student Union to its own mini market that provides food, clothes and toiletries to students in need. The bag-packing was the parent council’s first hands-on service project – one that applies to an issue not just at UCF, but nationwide.

In early December, CNN featured a new report that found 48 percent of more than 3,000 students surveyed from 34 colleges experienced food insecurity in the past 30 days. At UCF, a study done by Dr. Amy Donley in the UCF Sociology Department showed that 23.2 percent of the 902 student respondents have experienced or are experiencing homelessness.

Parents like Monica Green spent an hour packing bags of food and supplies and also sorting through donated professional clothing from the College of Business Alumni Chapter. Green was compelled to get involved with the parent’s council because she felt a duty to find a way to support the university that was a second home for her two children.

“You have to give back to the community,” Green said. “This was a great opportunity to help, but my heart breaks for the kids. I’m glad that the university as a whole has recognized the need and is doing something, and we can help to meet that need.”

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The council’s idea to help the pantry was first formed in October when Hurricane Matthew shut down campus operations for 48 hours. Members of the council wondered how students were getting the resources they needed.

The university executed its emergency plan for Hurricane Matthew, but when the group learned of the pantry’s closure for the winter break, the parents wanted to find a way to help. Their efforts were bolstered by the College of Business Alumni Chapter, which contributed 250 pieces of clothing to stock the pantry’s professional wardrobe choices.

Marketing alumna Roslyn Antoniazzi ’08, who serves as vice chair of the College of Business Administration Alumni Board, said she was glad that she could rally together support from alumni to take care of current students.

“I was absolutely thrilled to see there is support for the students and that there’s an option to not have to choose between buying that book or something to wear for an interview,” she said. “It’s helping to drive the university’s mission to set up students for success post-graduation.”

Students can pick up bags from the Student Care Services office until Dec. 22, and again starting Jan. 3.

How You Can Help
The pantry hopes to revolutionize its day-to-day operation by purchasing a commercial refrigerator. Thanks to donations already generously given and a matching gift pledge by Publix, the Pantry is $1,000 shy of its fundraising goal. Help make a difference, Give Today.

Five Funds Alumni Need to Know for #GivingTuesday

gt-graphiccropWe’re one day away from #GivingTuesday, a 24-hour online fundraising campaign that will make a difference in the lives of UCF students. We know you’ve got passion, especially when it comes to UCF. There are so many worthwhile areas to support at one of the nation’s largest institutions, but here are a few in particular we think you should know about. When you’re ready to get involved on #GivingTuesday, please donate here — just select the fund you’re passionate about from the designation drop down menu.

1. First-Generation Scholarships
One in four UCF students are first-generation scholars. They are people like President Hitt, who has now conferred more than 200,000 degrees for UCF graduates. Or alumna Kim Wyant, who was the first goalkeeper for the U.S. Women’s National Team and is now the head coach of the NYU men’s soccer team. Or Samantha Ogden, who cried tears of joy on her porch in her two-stoplight hometown when she read the email that said she would be graduating this past August.

For first-generation college students, earning a degree can transform their future in remarkable ways along with everyone in their family for generations to come.

BONUS: Your donation to this particular fund is like the Daily Double on “Jeopardy!” minus the risk. For every dollar you donate, the state of Florida will donate another, effectively DOUBLING the impact your gift. So if you donate $20, it’s really $40. $50 is really $100… you get the idea.

2. Knights Helping Knights Pantry
The Knights Helping Knights Pantry has grown over the last seven years from a closet in the Student Union to its own mini market that provides food, clothes and toiletries to students in need.

And they know how to make a dollar stretch. Their top two highly in demand items are peanut butter and pasta. One donation of $50 translates into 40 jars of peanut butter or 60 one-pound bags of pasta.

“Without the donations and the funding, we would not be able to provide any of these services to students,” said Jessica Roberts, a manager at the Pantry. “If you really look at it, all the food is donated or purchased through monetary donations. Every clothing item, every food item is donated by someone in the Orlando community. Without those donations we wouldn’t be here.”

3. Everyday Champion Student-Athlete Scholarships
Everyday Champions Scholarships enable student-athletes to fulfill their aspirations on the field and in the classroom. There are numerous stories of how a scholarship has changed a student-athlete’s life. Here’s one of our favorites:

Before beginning her freshman year at UCF, rower Leonie Hamel was in a terrible boating accident while training with her native Ireland national team. She nearly drowned and broke her back in six places. She thought she lost her chance to come to UCF, but head coach Becky Cramer said her scholarship would be waiting for her when she was recovered, no matter how long that took.

“There was always that light at the end of the tunnel for me,” Hamel said.

After months of recovery, she did come to America. And she has helped UCF clinch back-to-back conference championships and NCAA Championship appearances over the last two years. The health sciences major has also participated in Knights Without Borders (an international service learning group) and served on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee executive board.

4. UCF Student Emergency Fund
The UCF Student Emergency Fund is used for students who face emergency financial hardship and need scholarship to continue to pursue their higher education. It can help pay for a plane ticket home when a student’s loved one passes away unexpectedly. Or assist students who are unable to complete forms for federal student aid because of citizenship or other hardship.

5. Area of Greatest Need
If you just aren’t sure where to donate but want to help, this is the fund for you. UCF will make sure your gift gets put to good use.