BU Needs You: For Today’s Giving Tuesday, Focus Is on Providing a Vibrant Academic Experience
Annual fundraiser supports scholarships, wellness, Howard Thurman Center, Newbury Center, and more
What difference can a scholarship make? Just ask Ashley Therese Roes (CAS’22). “If I was not offered this scholarship, I would not have been able to come to BU. Attending this University has been a dream of mine since I was a young girl, and this scholarship has made that possible.”
Roes is just one of the thousands of BU students who receive scholarships every year. And today, during the eighth annual BU Giving Tuesday, the University community can help make sure the funds are there when students need them.
Boston University has participated in this global initiative encouraging support of nonprofit groups and institutions since 2014. The event is held every year on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. This year, all gifts to BU made on November 30, 2021 (from midnight to midnight EST), will count toward the #BUGivingDay total.
Those gifts add up: last year’s BU Giving Day brought in $336,728 from 1,473 generous donors. With extensive social media outreach, personal appeals through email and phone calls, and matching challenges, the University hopes to keep the momentum going this year.
The 2021 BU Giving Tuesday campaign focuses on supporting one of the five pillars of the University’s strategic plan: a vibrant academic experience. Because that experience occurs both in the classroom and beyond, several of the highlighted funds this year center on those important parts of a student’s education that aren’t found on a syllabus.
Scholarships like the one Roes received are just such a focus, because reducing financial strain makes it possible for students to concentrate on learning. That’s why the campaign is also supporting the Student Life Fund, which the Dean of Students uses to meet needs that aren’t covered by traditional financial aid, and the Terrier Meal Share program, which enables students to donate unused guest passes for meals to be used confidentially by peers who need them. Wellness and Prevention Services, too, is receiving extra attention because of the understanding that wellness is critical to a successful college experience.
In addition, this year’s Giving Tuesday outreach highlights two campus landmarks that bring students together to share perspectives and find support: the Howard Thurman Center for Common Ground, a locus for discussion and shared experiences, and the Newbury Center, which supports students who are the first in their family to attend college or graduate school. In this year’s freshman class alone, that’s 550 students.
The Newbury Center, which opened earlier this year, offers help in navigating financial aid and developing financial literacy, guidance on finding support for academic success, information about how to take full advantage of internships and opportunities to study abroad, and mentoring and other programs to foster a sense of belonging. It also provides outreach to families. The center, at 775 Commonwealth Avenue, is staffed almost entirely by first-gen students, says Brianna Bourne (CAS’24), and that’s a big plus.
A psychology major who came to BU on a Boston Public Schools Community Service Scholarship, Bourne says she “feels like that’s really helpful, because when a student comes in to ask about first-generation stuff, it’s not just like, ‘Oh, I heard this from somebody else.’ It’s your own experiences you’re talking about.”
Study Abroad and the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) are also among this year’s highlighted funds, underscoring the importance of experiential learning at BU. Contributions to UROP support stipends for student researchers, both during the academic year and in the summer, as well as lab supplies, student travel for research and participation in professional conferences, enrichment activities, and other needs.
More information about all of these funds and ways to make a tax-deductible gift is available at givingtuesday.bu.edu.
Louise Kennedy, BU Development & Alumni Relations associate director for editorial and new media content, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.