A thank you card is a simple and easy way to show appreciation. Cal Poly Annual Giving plans to take it a step further by using Cal Poly’s large student population to their advantage during their first annual #PolyGives March 9.

Starting at 11 a.m., interactive booths featuring free food, giveaways and activities will be set up in the Julian A. McPhee University Union Plaza (UU). Students will have the opportunity to create handwritten thank-you cards to donors that have contributed to Annual Giving at the UU, Robert E. Kennedy Library and Dexter Lawn.

The event was inspired by Communications Specialist Melody Klemin at the Annual Giving Department. Every college partnered with Annual Giving to create a collaborative campaign students can participate in.

“We’re not asking for a lot in return,” student philanthropy liaison and journalism senior Mariam Alamshahi said. “Our biggest goal right now is student participation so that this can set a precedent for next year.”

In addition to the presence on campus, #PolyGives will have a strong social media campaign. Each of the six colleges, Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) and Cal Poly Athletics will hold social media competitions, posted to their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts to maximize the number of students they reach. For example, students involved in a club will have the opportunity to win funding for their chosen student organization by posting a photo to Instagram with the #PolyGives hashtag.

Leading up to March 9, posters highlighting the benefits of donations will be placed at specific locations on campus. Including the nickname “TAG Week” for “Teach Annual Giving Week,” the posters will not only build momentum for #PolyGives, but also teach students the importance of alumni and supporter donations.

“We want students to be aware that your parents’ contributions toward tuition and what the state provides to the [California State University] system do not keep [Cal Poly] wholly functional. Even a gift of $5 or $10 that could be directed to the food pantry provides a student a weekend’s worth of food, and that’s something that doesn’t come from any other source,” Public Affairs and Communications Specialist for the Annual Giving Department Cathee Sandstrom said.

The Cal Poly Cares program, which oversees the food pantry available to all students and the distribution of student emergency grants, relies heavily on outside monetary

“#PolyGives will ultimately help contribute to a legacy of giving back to the Cal Poly you love,” Sandstrom said. “Going forward, [students] will grow into being alumni who give back because that’s The Mustang Way.”

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