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The Echo
Taylor University, Upland, IN
Saturday, June 22, 2024
The Echo
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'I Love TU' week brings in $1.9 million

Breaks records, to be used for student aid

Taylor University raised $1.9 million during the annual I Love TU week from April 29 to May 3. This event is Taylor’s largest annual fundraising campaign, with a goal to raise $250,000 over the course of five days.

At the beginning of the week, donors reached the initial fundraising goal by Thursday, then the University advancement team reevaluated for the remainder of the week.

Raising money is not the only part of I Love TU week, although it is the main goal. In addition, the advancement team hopes to educate students and donors about what the Taylor Fund is and how it benefits students, Mike Falder, vice president for university advancement, said.

Last year, the university raised around $800,000 total during I Love TU week. This year, the goal before the doubled and tripled gifts were taken into account was around $600,000, making the grand total around $1.9 million for the entire week.

The Taylor Fund is the amount of money the university needs to run smoothly throughout the year, largely used for financial aid dollars. The other portion of the Taylor fund goes to student activities — chapel programming, residence hall programming, student development and other annual events, Bradley Richardson, coordinator of digital engagement and annual giving for advancement, said. 

On the third day of fundraising, donors had given around $140,000, exceeding the goal of $250,000. Despite the slow start, Richardson was optimistic that donors would give later in the week. 

All donations are double-matched by donors on the fourth day of fundraising, making every gift three times its original value. Early on Thursday, the fundraising goal was expanded to $400,000 because it had been surpassed. 

Richardson  said I Love TU week is a chance to show the fun side of Taylor, one that individuals off campus don’t usually see.

An activity Richardson looked forward to for I Love TU week was the golf cart trivia. On Monday of I Love TU week, students were enlisted to drive golf carts and ask passengers trivia questions for the chance to win a prize like an I Love TU keychain.

Senior Katelyn Kersten and junior Ashley Wynalda volunteered to drive a golf cart and provide students with a fun experience on their way to classes.

“Our goal was to spread joy, so we tried to stop whoever we could see on the sidewalk, some prospective [students] and some students, but it was fun,” Kersten said. “In the middle of it, I remember [thinking], ‘We're making people happy on this day,’ so that was fun to hopefully brighten some people's days on a random Monday.”

Madison Slusher, content and special programs developer, said her job is doing all the “fun stuff” for I Love TU week. She enjoyed the pickleball competition, which was advertised in an Airband commercial this year. 

Pickleball games inspired healthy competition between faculty and students alike, and provided opportunities for students to experience life to the full, Slusher said.

“I'm in awe of how enthusiastic the students have been about this week and just about Taylor in general,” Slusher said. “I think Taylor is such a special place, and I see that in everybody here, so I think it's a great week.”