Love was in the air Feb. 12, just before Valentine’s Day, but not in the usual way. The Office of Institutional Advancement hosted “I Love DU Day” where students came together to celebrate their favorite parts of Drexel University.
Grateful Dragons passing through two locations — the lobbies of the Papadakis Integrated Sciences Building and the Creese Student Center — could honor specific components of their Drexel experience they’ve come to appreciate while also learning more about how philanthropy funds many of these things.
“It’s about coming together and talking about what people love most about Drexel but also celebrating the people that make it possible,” Delaney Dorsey, the program coordinator of the Drexel Fund in the Office of Institutional Advancement, said.
Students could spin a wheel for a chance to win prizes while sipping on hot cocoa, enjoying heart-shaped lollipops and also getting the chance to be photographed holding signs, highlighting the things students are often thankful for at Drexel such as certain schools within the university, major scholarships, student organizations and athletic teams.
“It’s really awesome they want you to get in the school spirit,” Sara Iuliucci, a biology freshman, said.
Iuliucci held up a sign about the biology department because she said she loves the program and the helpful teachers that comprise it.
Jackie Tang, a biomedical engineering sophomore, said the event made him think about some of his favorite things on campus, like the newly-renovated Quad — especially on a nice, sunny day. He said it was a great way to commend the donors who have contributed to the campus that he adores so much.
“It’s a nice way to give thanks to those who, out of righteousness, gave back to the community,” Tang said.
In addition to showcasing the generosity of our donors, Dorsey said that the event aimed to simultaneously tackle the misconceptions around university philanthropy. Though students may think most of the funds are funneled into visible changes like campus construction, she said that’s not always the case, and she wants students to better understand how philanthropy makes a Drexel education possible.
“It’s not just new buildings, it’s not just expanding campus; it’s things that affect students from day to day,” she explained. “A lot of donor support actually goes into the cost of educating a student — things like athletics, student life, student organizations, Greek life — that’s all supported by donors,” she said.
Dorsey said that this was the perfect way to cultivate an understanding and appreciation of this support.
“It’s a fun way for us to quickly touch base with students and talk to them a little bit about philanthropic support and its impact here at Drexel,” she said.
Engineering student Ryshena Providence helped run the event alongside Dorsey as part of the Student Philanthropy Council. She joined the council, which works alongside the Office of Institutional Advancement, because she wanted to increase awareness of philanthropy on campus. Since she is involved with an array of Drexel organizations like the Society of Women Engineers and the National Society of Black Engineers, and since she is also an athlete, she has directly seen the value of philanthropic generosity.
“I’m extremely grateful I’ve been able to attend Drexel because of philanthropy,” she said.
Chris Crouthamel, a construction management senior, is another member of the SPC who helped coordinate the table in PISB. Crouthamel said that he is a big advocate of Drexel, and he applied to the university — his top choice — the moment he got out of the military.
Since he got to Drexel, Crouthamel said he’s been trying to make the most of his time at the university, which he said he loves since it’s so military-friendly and full of unique opportunities.
“I’m just so thankful to be a Drexel Dragon,” he said. “They offer a lot to the students.”
But he doesn’t want these offerings to go unnoticed, which is what motivated him to join the organization.
“A lot of stuff they have here isn’t from tuition,” he said. “Donors have a big impact, and it’s nice to thank them for that.”
Charlie Pratt, an engineering sophomore, said he wasn’t aware of how much philanthropy funded everyday facets of the university prior to the event.
Many students who attended left with a similarly new perspective.
“I learned a lot about Drexel Fund,” Angela Le, a material science engineering junior, said. “It’s nice they’re trying to increase awareness.”
But it wasn’t just about awareness, Dorsey said. It was also a way for students to get together to feel a sense of school pride, which she said is important for a school that may not have other regular avenues of school spirit.
“Drexel’s sense of school pride is unique. It’s different from other schools, and they have different rallying techniques,” she said. “That point of Drexel pride is largely focused on the great education students are receiving and the co-op program [that] provides so many opportunities that you just wouldn’t get at another school.”
Shelisa Shaju, a biology freshman, said she’d love to see these tables set up more often to further bolster school pride.
“I loved how it went with the holiday,” she said. “But I wish it would be more often throughout the term just to cheer people up.”
Overall, Dorsey said this is only a piece of the puzzle for creating an even stronger culture of philanthropy and philanthropic impact.
“We hope that’s a tradition and a culture that continues throughout the future,” she said.