Stepping up for beloved cause through a new giving tradition led Sammie Dailly to walking onto Worsham Field before the recent football game against Pittsburgh.

“The experience was indescribable. I’ve jumped to 'Enter Sandman' many times during my years at Tech, but the on-field experience was by far the most memorable,” said Dailly, who is majoring in multimedia journalism. “I will never forget this experience, and I thank Virginia Tech for ending my senior year in the most perfect way.”

Dailly was randomly selected for the on-field experience when she made her Senior Class Gift during a special promotion asking students to support what they love and appreciate about Virginia Tech. The contest was one of multiple events and experiences the Senior Class Gift Committee has come up with to encourage all students to give back with a gift.

“I thought, I should be giving back to the school that’s given me three-and-a-half years of education and that’s ultimately helped me get a job for after graduation,” said Dailly, who already has post-graduation employment lined up with Torc Robotics.

Started just three years ago, the Senior Class Gift campaign has grown each year, and the Class of 2020 aims to continue the trend by reaching 1,500 gifts, far surpassing last year’s record of more than 900 gifts. So far, 114 seniors have made a gift of $5 or more. Seniors who make a gift of $20.20 or more will be given a black and gray cord to wear at commencement.

“We’re excited by the momentum the Senior Class Gift Campaign has recently achieved — and by the great passion and leadership we see in the Class of 2020,” said Shaun Grahe, Virginia Tech’s director of student and young alumni engagement.

Dailly said she was happy to help the effort of her class and also loved being able to dedicate her funds to a specific university-related cause about which she is passionate – the Virginia Tech Rescue Squad.

“I’ve seen VT Rescue really change some of my friends lives by being there when they really needed help,” she said. “I think they are a resource that everyone benefits from.”

Dailly said she felt good supporting a cause that’s important to her. Winning the on-field experience was simply a bonus, albeit, one she was excited about.

“When I got the email, I literally had to read it three times and my first thought was ... who am I going to take with me,” she said.

Dailly decided this would a grand opportunity to introduce her two younger siblings, who are 14 and 10 years old, to Hokie Nation.

“I’ve never seen a grin so big on my siblings’ faces as we made our way to the line-up with the band and cheer squad,” Dailly said. "My younger siblings said Tech is their school of choice now, so I hope to join them on the field again someday.”

Students interested joining the Senior Class Gift Committee, should email StudentGiving@vt.edu.

- Written by Travis Williams