On Friday night, I attended the Victors for Michigan kickoff event. Victors for Michigan is the University of Michigan’s sixth fundraising campaign, due to end in 2018. It has a $4 billion fundraising goal, the most ambitious in the history of any public university, with three priorities: making it so cost is not an issue for any student who is admitted, giving students experiences to expand their worldview, and support for bold ideas that will solve the world’s biggest problems.
As a former Development employee (I gave tours to friends of the University and the Development community), I had to be there. While I don’t completely agree that donating to colleges and universities is the best use of money, I can safely say that gifts to the University have improved my Michigan experience. Another reason I attended was because they wanted to recognize student organizations that raise money for good causes–I’m a member of one such organization, Dance Marathon.
The event began with a community festival on Ingalls Mall with free food and performances. There were free t-shirts for everyone, and even gloves with the Victors for Michigan logo on them, if you were lucky enough to get a pair. The main event happened in Hill Auditorium and featured Regent Julia Donovan Darlow, President Mary Sue Coleman, and Campaign Chair Stephen M. Ross (who also happens to be the University’s largest donor and a really funny guy).
Just as importantly, it featured students–students participating in lifesaving research, projects supporting communities in Michigan and around the world, and working on bold ideas, including SPH’s own Kelly Ferguson. In the crowd, there were hundreds of students with Victors for Michigan shirts on. Each had a large sticker on the back saying what they supported, ranging from the general (research) to specific student organizations (such as MUSIC Matters). I sat with Dance Marathon, and this picture makes us look like we have laser vision.
The campaign even made its way to the Big House, with the three priorities being announced (again) during the halftime show at the game against Nebraska. The Michigan Marching Band even spelled out “Victors for Michigan” at the end of their show featuring music from Queen (surprisingly enough, not many people sang along to Bohemian Rhapsody).
Enough about that. Back to studying and finding an internship!