Virtual events result in real connections

Emergency resources, scholarships, and diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives were just a few areas that received significant support as a result of two spring fundraising events at the University of Washington Bothell.

Combined, the events will not only impact student success, but they also connected members of the broader community to the campus and to each other.

Husky Giving Day

On April 8, more than 200 gifts were made to UW Bothell during the 24-hour campaign to celebrate the power of philanthropy on the lives of students. The donations — ranging from $5 to $5,000 — supported campus-wide initiatives such as the Black Opportunity Fund, the COVID-19 Emergency Student Fund and Community Engagement, as well as programs within the five schools on campus: Business, Educational Studies, Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, Nursing & Health Studies and STEM. 

“My favorite part of Husky Giving Day this year was seeing the enthusiasm of our deans to make the day a success,” said Keshia Link, director of donor services and development operations. “They challenged themselves to be creative in their approach and came up with some innovative ways to define success for their participation.” 

In recognition of the influence social media can have in educating and connecting people, goals for the day were centered around increasing “likes” and followers and around the amount of times hashtags were shared, rather than a specific dollar amount donated. 

“The more exposure we get on our Facebook page, the more people will learn about the great work of our faculty and students,” said Dr. Bruce Burgett, dean of the School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences. “That will inevitably lead to support in some other way, whether it’s more shares, more students on our campus or more funds for our programs. 

“Above and beyond the incredible generosity that we saw that day,” said Burgett. “the exposure gained and camaraderie built online on Husky Giving Day are immeasurable.” 

Husky 5K 

For the second year in a row, the Husky 5K — which is in its 16th year — was a virtual event. And it was a virtual success, said Tiffany Kirk, interim director of alumni engagement. 

“We had more than 400 participants from 13 states,” she said. “That was amazing, given it was around the time some pandemic restrictions were lifting and people had many more options for spending their weekend outdoors or in groups. 

“It speaks to the experience our alumni had at UW Bothell,” she said. “They want to stay engaged and support current students to be successful.” 

The Husky 5K is organized by alumni for alumni (and friends). Members of UW Bothell’s Alumni Council, led by Mary Howisey (Society, Ethics & Human Behavior ’02), secure sponsors, rally participants and manage race-day logistics. Community partner AT&T, which sponsored the 2020 Block Party & BrewFest, returned this year to support the event again. 

Dogs and the top Dawg 

Bridget Doyle, CCAMPIS program manager; Elisabeth Schnebele, student writer

While typically a 5K run/walk, this year’s 5K “race” involved fitness classes including barre, dance, spin, strength and yoga. From social media posts and direct feedback, participants reported having a great time with the option they chose. The most fun, however, may have been had by the dogs. 

“The dogs were out in force this year,” said Kirk. “It’s always been a dog-friendly event, but something about the cape we shared got the dogs and their owners excited about participating. I loved seeing it!” 

One such dog sporting the purple cape was Dubs, the top Dawg himself. He had surprise visits with many people throughout the day, dropping by participants’ homes and posing for photos on campus. 

The fun then turned into funds as the event raised $11,000 for UW Bothell’s COVID-19 Emergency Student Fund, which helps students by paying for utilities, computer equipment and access to the internet. Having these basic needs for technology met has meant students could continue their studies during the pandemic. 

A supportive community 

The pride and collaborative spirit that resulted from both events demonstrate the impact of people coming together for a common purpose. 

Both Link and Kirk also emphasized the generosity of the UW Bothell community during this virtual reality. 

“We remain grateful for the continued support of our donors and alumni to ensure our students are successful,” they said. “We look forward to when we can again host events and thank them in person.” 

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