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Virginia Wesleyan University Celebrates a Record-Breaking Giving Tuesday Campaign

Surpassing Goals with Community Spirit and Innovation

University News | December 1, 2023

Virginia Wesleyan University (VWU) has once again exemplified the power of community and generosity in its recent Giving Tuesday campaign. Under the dynamic leadership of Sarah Guzzo, Director of the Wesleyan Fund, the university witnessed an unprecedented level of participation and enthusiasm, surpassing its ambitious goal with flying colors.   

This year’s Giving Tuesday, a global day of giving, saw Marlin Nation rally together to not just meet but significantly exceed the set target of 610 gifts. By the end of the day, the count stood at an impressive 698 donations, a testament to the collective spirit and dedication of the VWU community. 

"This was no easy feat!” says VWU Director of the Wesleyan Fund Sarah Guzzo. “The creativity, enthusiasm, and involvement from many departments and leaders across campus allowed us to Make Waves on Giving Tuesday.” Sarah extended her gratitude to various departments, groups, and people who supported this effort, including Athletics, Batten Honors College, Campus Life, Marlin Mathematicians, Sports and Recreation Professions, Vox Vera, and Associate Vice President for Campus Life and Operational Management Jason Seward for their unwavering commitment. 

The campaign featured several innovative strategies to engage the community. Notably, the hourly 'Legendary Updates' on Facebook, where faculty and staff, representing more than 250 years of service to VWU, shared their memorable experiences and affection for the Marlin community. These stories, filled with nostalgia and wisdom, were a hit among students and alumni alike. 

Incentivizing participation was a key strategy this year, with various power hours and giveaways. Popular among these were the VWU Swag bag, including an autographed book by Dr. Hultgren, and the VWC Vintage power hours, offering unique Virginia Wesleyan College memorabilia. Another highlight was the All-Day Alumni Challenge, spearheaded by VWU Board Trustee and alumnus Gary D. Bonnewell '79, H'16, which stirred up a friendly competition among alumni from different decades. 

A new and exciting addition to this year’s campaign was the Influencer Challenge, introducing a competitive yet fun element. This initiative involved 24 influencers, comprising students, staff, and alumni, who worked tirelessly to garner gift dedications. Their efforts were substantial, contributing to 239 of the total gifts. The top five influencers won an additional $1,000 for their respective funds, thanks to the generosity of Tim Bailey '83, a VWU Board Trustee and alumnus. 

VWU President Scott D. Miller expressed his overwhelming gratitude for the community's support. "In just one day, the University raised over $98,000 from over 698 donors for multiple areas across campus, crushing our goal of 610 donors. What an incredible way to make waves and kick off the holiday season!" he remarked. 

Special thanks are also extended to the students who actively engaged in reaching out to alumni, parents, and friends, significantly contributing to the campaign's success. Top influencer prizes were awarded to individuals like Head Men’s Lacrosse Coach JP Stewart and students Julia P., Colin G., Brooke U., and Melina C., each earning a $1,000 prize for their programs. 

The Giving Tuesday campaign at Virginia Wesleyan University was a remarkable display of community spirit and generosity. It not only showcased the effective leadership and innovative approaches of the Wesleyan Fund under Sarah Guzzo but also highlighted the deep-rooted sense of belonging and commitment within the Marlin Nation. As the university looks forward to future endeavors, this year’s Giving Tuesday will be remembered as a milestone in its journey of growth and community engagement.