One thousand, eight hundred forty-eight minutes, $1,691,726 raised for the University of Wisconsin-Madison. That was the impact of the “Day of the Badger” event organized by the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association (WFAA), which occurred March 28 and March 29.
Participants, including many UW-Madison alumni, are encouraged to donate to a variety of funds — some broad, like the Chancellor’s Fund or financial aid scholarships, others more focused, like funding for the Chazen Museum of Art or Lakeshore Preserve. They can also participate on social media or “share their Badger spirit,” said Betsy Popelka Massnick, WFAA director of annual giving.
Day of the Badger began at 10:12 a.m. on March 28 and concluded at 5 p.m. on March 29. The 1,848 minutes of the event are a “nod to the year the university was founded,” Massnick said. During that time, donors can support various causes via online donations, with some “challenges and matching gifts” also offered, according to Massnick.
The event started in April 2019, Massnick explained, with the goal of “bringing our Badger community together to make an impact across the university and beyond.” The event has been successful, raising “well over $1 million each year,” Massnick noted.
This year marked a new record for WFAA, with over 4,600 donors and 6,400 donations raising over $1.69 million.
Any campus area can participate in Day of the Badger, Massnick explained, with certain “university-wide priorities” like the Chancellor’s Fund, Great People Annual Scholarship and other annual funds.
“These annual funds provide discretionary support to campus leaders and are critical for continued growth and excellence in education,” Massnick said.
WFAA solicits participants in the winter, Massnick noted, and creates pages for the areas and funds those participants would like to promote.
Colleen Schmit, alumni relations officer at the university’s School of Human Ecology, said the Day of the Badger helps “ensure that each of our 2,000 students in the School of Human Ecology has the resources and tools they need to succeed.” Schmit offered funding for internships as one example.
“Internships can be door-openers for a student's career, but unpaid internships prevent many students from accepting these opportunities,” Schmit explained. “The money raised through Day of the Badger is key in the School of Human Ecology's efforts to provide funding for internships and make them accessible to all students.”
Members of the UW-Madison community were also encouraged to engage with the event through social media participation, and, as of Wednesday, the hashtag #dayofthebadger has received over 2,600 posts on Instagram, many of which show alumni and community members donning UW-Madison apparel.
Donors came from every state and eight countries, according to Massnick.
“UW impacts so many corners of the world. Our community can support these efforts to extend the reach of the classroom and make a positive impact on our campus, community and the world,” Massnick said.
“It’s such a wonderful example of the power of collective giving,” Massnick added.
Liam Beran is the Campus News Editor for The Daily Cardinal and a third-year English major. Throughout his time at the Cardinal, he's written articles for campus, state and in-depth news. Follow him on Twitter at @liampberan.