The day following Thanksgiving is thought of as the first day of the holiday season by many; a day when mass spending and consumerism emerge globally. Black Friday deals are scattered across every aspect of our lives, dominating what used to be a day consisting only of digestion and self-repulsion. While some appreciate and take advantage of the discounted prices, others have started taking action in a different way.
In 2012, the United Nations Foundation sought for a way to fight the commercialization of the holiday season. The solution was simple and caught on quickly: Giving Tuesday. Following Black Friday and Cyber Monday, many Americans have exhausted their wallets. Supporters of Giving Tuesday urge even the big spenders to contribute just a little more, but toward a charity rather than on themselves.
The idea is to promote philanthropy by offering a specific date for widespread donations. Unlike the previous several days, during which coughing up large sums of money to corporations is encouraged, Giving Tuesday is grounded in charity and selflessness. According to a USA Today article published on Dec. 10, 2013, after the first year, charitable giving was approximately twice the value. As of last year, it had roughly doubled again.
At UNH, Giving Tuesday has become a full-fledged fundraising opportunity. Students and faculty alike who want to see underclassmen get the same opportunities as them have put together an organization centered on just that.
Senior Class Gift Committee member Sadie Matteson explained, “Senior Gift’s goal is to get students to contribute back to the university, the idea being that we want to make sure future students get the same opportunities as we did.”
The Senior Class Gift Committee ran an event in honor of Giving Tuesday at the Memorial Union Building on Nov. 29. The goal was to inform students about their goal and encourage donations.
“Students who donate get to designate their donation to anything through UNH, whether that be to their major, a club they like, or scholarship. It’s up to the donor,” Matteson said.
It’s not just the organization that depends on donations. UNH currently only receives about 10 percent of its funding from the state, which is the lowest in the nation. Without individual contributions of whatever size, the university would struggle to offer the many clubs, on-campus activities and opportunities that it currently does.
The power of Giving Tuesday has shown itself nationwide since 2012, and the Senior Class Gift Committee is hoping it can have the same affect here at the university. It serves as a designated time for students to give back to the school and, in turn, the incoming students. The Fall 2016 freshman class is the largest to date which means UNH is growing. Yet, many fear the few state allocations aren’t enough to sustain these growing numbers. The Senior Class Gift Committee hopes that help will emerge internally, with Giving Tuesday serving as the catalyst.