Nearly two dozen initiatives will benefit from the generosity of donors who supported projects highlighted this semester on Jump, Virginia Tech’s crowdfunding platform.
More than 1,300 donors provided nearly $120,000, combined, to the 23 causes featured during the fall 2017 term. It was a substantial increase from the roughly $21,000 raised during the spring semester of 2017, when Jump debuted with four projects.
Jump allows students and faculty to maximize their fundraising efforts by providing resources and support to campaigns that are approved by a crowdfunding project selection committee. The generosity of this fall’s Jump donors will help to back a wide range of research, education, and public-service projects.
Thanks to 80 donations, VT Engage, the university’s service-learning and civic-engagement center led the by the Division of Student Affairs, exceeded its goal by raising $3,514 for the Campus Kitchen program, in which student volunteers redirect quality, unserved food from Dining Services to local hunger relief agencies.
VT Engage had been using its operating budget to assist with Campus Kitchen after money from an original grant had run out. Lindsey Gleason, communication coordinator for VT Engage, said Jump could not have come at a better time.
“Jump just seemed like great timing and a great way to help divert some of the costs that were coming out of our regular budget,” Gleason said. “People started to get really excited about the [Campus Kitchen] concept because you’re both trying to address food insecurity in the region and preventing food from going to waste.”
Another program to exceed its goal was the campaign to raise money for the LGBTQ+ Student Leadership Development Scholarship, which will help students attend conferences, workshops, and other leadership development opportunities. Through 84 gifts, the project raised $6,275.
“It shows how much people support the LGBTQ+ community and specifically leadership development for this population, so I was just really happy,” Luis Garay, assistant director for the LGBTQ+ Resource Center, which is one of seven cultural and community centers led by Student Affairs, said of the experience fundraising on Jump.
Jump campaigns will make a positive impact both within and outside the New River Valley. Engineers without Borders, a student-run organization, raised $6,000, through 66 gifts, to help fund a wastewater treatment project in Guatemala, a solar energy project in Uganda, and an irrigation and seed-storage project in Nicaragua.
Although the project’s donors will not do the actual engineering work themselves, Engineers Without Borders President Jenna O’Brien ’18 said they are essential members of her team.
“We really can’t do what we do without support,” said O’Brien, who is on pace to graduate in May with bachelor’s degrees in biological systems engineering and Spanish. “We’re trying to support communities, but we can’t do it if people don’t support us.”
Graduate students in the College of Science Department of Geosciences raised $4,647 to help run an annual student research symposium.
“We’d really like to thank all of our alumni and all of our donors for stepping up and doing this for us,” said Kannikha Kolandaivelu, a Ph.D. candidate who is chairing the 2018 Geosciences Student Research Symposium. “They’re really helping out the future geoscientists of the world.”
Jump’s project selection committee will notify applicants in mid-January whether their initiatives have been accepted for promotion during the spring semester. Spring campaigns will be promoted between March 26 and May 11.
Written by Emma Schimley '18.