Faculty, staff find 50 reasons to give back

Eric Higgins

In the footsteps Grand Valley State University’s 50th anniversary, faculty and staff are finding reasons to give back – 50 of them.

Shaun Shira, annual giving manager for University Development, said the 50 Reasons to Give campaign seeks to involve faculty and staff in giving back to GVSU.

“We run an annual campaign, usually from January to March, where these volunteers are out encouraging and asking for support to scholarships and program funds from their colleagues in their department,” he said. “We usually try and theme the campaign. In previous years, the theme has been growing the greater Grand Valley, this year because of the 50th anniversary, we decided to come up with 50 reasons why someone might give to Grand Valley, and that’s how we came up with the 50 Reasons to Give campaign.”

To help come up with the “50 Reasons to Give” to GVSU, Shira had an advisory cabinet comprised of faculty and staff members. Along with the ideas from the cabinet, faculty and staff members were also interviewed about why they give back to GVSU.

On the campaign website, the No. 1 reason faculty and staff give back is because “it’s the Grand Valley way.” Other reasons included “students need scholarships” and “keep GVSU a grand value.”

Paul Stephenson, co-chair of the faculty and staff campaign, said the campaign is important because of how it helps students.

“One thing is this is an absolutely great institution to work at, and it’s a way that faculty and staff can give back to the institution and ultimately give back to the students of the institution,” he said. “Almost all of the endowed funds are directly used to benefit students, not all of them, but most of them are.”

One goal for the campaign is to get 50 percent participation from the faculty and staff. Shira said another goal is to get more donors involved in the campaign.

“We created two different teams based on the department that that volunteer was in, so I think there are 50 departments that are on a blue team and 50 departments that are on a white team,” he said. “And one of the other goals for the campaign is for each team to obtain 50 new donors for their team.”

Faculty and staff give back to GVSU for many reasons and Chris Plouff, assistant professor in the School of Engineering, said he gives back because it feels like the right thing to do.

“I believe in our students and the faculty, staff, and administration that I work with,” he said. “I have benefited from working here and being a part of this community. By giving, I am helping the growth and development of GVSU, which not only feels right, it feels good.”

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