Transitioning from high school to college can be a daunting task, but having the support of current CALS students can make navigating the first year exciting. As a way to welcome incoming CALS students and lessen financial burdens they may face, the Student Philanthropy Council (SPC) supports College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) Freshmen Scholarships.
As part of the 2021 Stand Up and Holler: Gator Nation Giving Day, SPC members wanted to emphasize the importance of current CALS students supporting future students by hosting a virtual fundraising event. Each year, the university hosts Gator Nation Giving Day, a 24-hour fundraising event where alumni, faculty, staff, families and friends come together to support University of Florida programs and initiatives.
This year, SPC, in coordination with the Agricultural and Life Sciences College Council (ALSCC), challenged current CALS students to raise money for the CALS SPC Freshmen Scholarships, using social media to create awareness and solicit donations.
“We really wanted them [current students] to see that they are going to make a difference in a future student’s life,” said Annabel Henson, an agricultural education and communication junior.
The organizations wanted to emphasize the importance of unifying support among students and also raise money for future CALS Gators. Through their fundraiser, CALS students garnered support through donations from current students, alumni and friends, totaling more than $1,000 for future CALS students. To encourage student organizations to participate, SPC sponsored a Chick-Fil-A meal for the organization which had the most students contribute to the fund. Sigma Alpha, a professional agricultural sorority at UF, was deemed the winner.
SPC’s purpose is to foster a sense of philanthropy among students and instill a mindset of gratitude. As members of SPC, Caleb Reed, a senior studying food and resource economics, and Henson have realized how philanthropy can unlock opportunities for college students throughout their education.
“I’ve been very blessed to receive a number of different scholarships, so I recognize just how important the support from other donors is,” Reed said. “And I wanted to sort of give back in a small way as a student.”
Henson and Reed both shared they are hoping students within CALS understand the impact they can have on future students’ collegiate experiences through this fundraiser.
“I think sometimes the scholarship can be just a general difference between quality of life,” Reed said. He mentioned some students come to campus with little financial support and emphasized that $1,000 can truly make an impact on a student’s educational experience.
By providing scholarships to future CALS students, SPC members are hoping to plant a seed for the next generation of students to inspire them to give.
“I will give back to the college because I’ve had a really amazing experience and I’ve learned so much,” Henson said. “So, I think it’s about giving back and helping those [future] students find their passion when they’re coming up through college.”
In the future, SPC is hoping to host a similar event for students in face-to-face capacity. Contributions to SPC Freshmen Scholarships will continue to be accepted at https://cals.ufl.edu/alumni/spc/ to support future CALS Gators.