‘Celebrate UIU’ inspires students to be involved and give back

Among the Upper Iowa University students helping lead awareness projects during the recent Celebrate UIU Days were (seated, l-r) Yi Mun Choo, a marketing major from Selangor, Malaysia; Shania Christopherson, an art/psychology double major from Milford, Iowa; (standing) Meghan Klein, a forensic science major from Dysart, Iowa; Grant Dieken, an all social science major from Clear Lake, Iowa; Hannah Schutte, a birth—grade 3: inclusive settings major from Luana, Iowa; and Iberus Jenkins, an exercise/sport studies major from Cicero, Illinois.

Upper Iowa University’s 5th annual Celebrate UIU Days, held April 22-23, resulted in 604 generous supporters contributing $144,322. The successful celebration continued throughout the weekend with an additional $2,341 raised by 51 donors.

Reflecting on this year’s event, UIU director of annual giving Naomi Aziz expressed her appreciation not only to those who donated funds, but also to the entire UIU community who rallied together during this momentous achievement.

“With the many challenges we had been through in 2020, it was high time we celebrate all things UIU,” Aziz said. “The UIU community expands all over the world and members are passionate about, and dedicated to, the continued success of the University for generations to come.”

The UIU Fund and 2021 Class Gift were the focus of this year’s event. Contributions to the UIU Fund benefit student experiences, as well as the emerging needs of the University. Soon-to-be graduates were encouraged to make a gift to the 2021 Class Gift, which is directed to the UIU Reunion Endowment Fund, where alumni gatherings, such as Homecoming, class reunions and other Peacock social activities are hosted and made possible.

“I am always amazed to see the outpouring of support from students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the University,” executive director of alumni development Brenda Luzum said. “People truly love this place and they want to see it thrive. This event is just one reminder throughout the year that financial support is always appreciated and will always make a difference, no matter if that’s $1, $500 or $10,000. Every gift has an impact, and we are grateful for each and every supporter.”

According to Luzum, the Student Philanthropy Council (SPC) played an important role in this year’s planning efforts. Student-led outreach included awareness projects, organizing the selfie booth for the social media promotion and coordinating a Donuts for Donors event to share the excitement with their friends and fellow classmates. During the event, 140 students showed their support with a contribution. SPC will continue to drive philanthropy projects and generate student involvement.

“It’s our pleasure to support the SPC and provide these student leaders opportunities to gain real-world experience in fundraising, event planning, graphic design, marketing and social media,” Luzum said. “Not only that, but we want them to have some fun and help them be the voice for fellow students. We hope to continue inspiring even more students and alumni to better understand and recognize the importance of giving back and supporting UIU.”

Celebrate UIU Days is a 12-month planning process, so work is already underway for the 2022 event. Stay tuned for exciting details and a fun new theme. For a list of the 2021 donors or additional information about Celebrate UIU Days, visit uiu.edu/celebrateuiu.

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