Giving Day sets records

It was like homecoming, Mardi Gras and a telethon all rolled into one on Thursday, April 21, 2016, as Vanderbilt University School of Nursing (VUSN) went all out for the first-ever Vanderbilt Giving Day. Alumni, students, faculty, administration, staff and friends were determined to set a record for the number of financial gifts given to VUSN, and VU, in one day.

Official university-wide events kicked off at midnight when students gathered at Dudley Field for the Gold Dash, a celebratory run across the football field to commemorate the occasion.

Other events took place on campus throughout the day. University landmarks “turned gold” to visibly mark the day. Alumni across the country attended chapter events and posted photos of themselves wearing gold on their social media accounts.

At VUSN, the atrium was festooned with a gold balloon arch and Development and Alumni Relations staff were present to answer questions and process payments on site for donors. Vanderbilt’s mascot, Mr. Commodore (aka Mr. C.), visited and posed for photos. An all-school social rounded out the day.

In the days leading up to Giving Day, Dean Linda Norman recorded a video for Facebook and issued a challenge: she’d match the first $1,000 given to the School of Nursing on Giving Day. The challenge was accepted: by 8 a.m., students, faculty, staff and friends had donated $1,000 and they didn’t stop there. By 11:59 p.m., more than 250 donors had contributed nearly $26,000 to the School of Nursing in that one 24-hour time period.

Promotion for Giving Day began months earlier with the help of more than 1,370 Giving Day Ambassadors — volunteers who helped to spread the word via social media.

In just 24 hours, more than 7,400 alumni, students, parents, faculty, staff and friends made gifts of all sizes to areas across Vanderbilt and raised more than $1.6 million.

Be on the lookout for details about Giving Day 2017, taking place this spring.