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Published September 08, 2023
Every fall, the University of Wyoming Foundation spearheads UW Giving Day -- a unique 24-hour philanthropic event that encourages donors from across the globe to give to UW on-campus groups. In its beginning, Giving Day was reserved for campus departments, programs and university initiatives, but now Giving Day includes student clubs and organizations.
Last fall, a record number of student organizations and clubs registered with the UW Foundation to participate with their own Giving Day campaigns. In total, donors gave over $300,000 to almost 40 student clubs and organizations. Of those, a few, in particular, found great success on Giving Day and have used their extra funding to do more for their clubs and the greater UW community.
In 2023, UW’s Giving Day will take place from noon Oct. 25 to noon Oct. 26 with the theme of “Make My Day.” The last day for student organizations and clubs to submit Giving Day campaigns is Friday, Sept. 15.
Cowboy Country Swing Club is one student organization that has benefited greatly from Giving Day. In 2022, 234 donors supported the club with $3,106 in the short 24-hour giving period.
Over the course of the school year, the Cowboy Country Swing Club hosts a variety of swing dances for college students. At these dances, students can learn the art of swing dancing from club instructors or practice their skills with other students. The inclusive, fun environment created by the Cowboy Country Swing Club brings together the entire UW community -- as evidenced by its popularity and its ability to reach donors.
In the 2022-23 school year, in addition to funding multiple swing dancing events at UW, the club used its Giving Day earnings to send multiple student instructors to Colorado for a swing dancing competition at almost no additional cost to the students.
“It’s important for our club to use Giving Day as a way of fundraising because it allows us to do more than what we normally could afford,” says Peri Hennigar, a UW senior and president of the Cowboy Country Swing Club. “Giving Day also is important for student organizations because it brings together Laramie and the greater Wyoming and UW community.”
Hennigar continues, “It allows our club to get the word out about our events, what we do and who we are. Last winter, we were even able to host a dance in Saratoga because a high school 4-H club had heard about us and invited us to come out.”
A club sport that has benefited from Giving Day is the UW men’s rugby team. Its 2022 campaign earned $45,388 from 261 donors.
“Giving Day is an awesome way for clubs to raise extra funds because it can be difficult for many clubs to fundraise at other points throughout the year,” says Aidan Petitt, a UW senior and president of UW men’s rugby. “Giving Day really gives clubs and donors the opportunity to connect on at least one day each year, and it gives more exposure to the different clubs on campus and the causes they may support.”
The rugby team does just that -- using Giving Day as just one more way to reach out to its current supporters and find new ones. With over 6,000 donors partaking in Giving Day last year, clubs including the rugby team are able to engage with an audience larger than what they may typically find with other fundraising opportunities.
The rugby team also chose to put its funds to use in a unique way, funding two scholarships that support multiple players on the team. This allows players to focus more on their courses and less on the financial strain that comes with being both a student and an athlete.
“It was the goal that our donors, our coach and our team all want to accomplish,” Petitt says. “We want students on the team to focus on school first and foremost and then focus on rugby. The scholarships help take away some of the financial pressures.”