You might notice something a little different on campus on Thursday, Feb. 13, Supersize gift tags will emblazon buildings, labs—and even students—letting the community know “WPI donors gave this for you!” In an effort to show how important donations are to WPI, Tag Day will raise everyone’s awareness about all the things donations make possible.
Start the day by visiting the Rubin Campus Center, where you’ll find Tag Day information tables from 10am to 4pm. Students can also join the fun by taking a photo of the donor gift they most appreciate and post it using #TagItWPI to Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. The top three photos will each win a $25 Visa gift card.
WPI is taking a new angle on an increasingly popular trend on college campuses. “Thank a Giver” day is something colleges and universities use to show those on campus just how important philanthropy is to the school, says Cristina Picozzi, assistant director, Annual Giving. But WPI is taking the approach literally, says Picozzi, and is using a gift tag motif to showcase all the different ways donations have changed the physical campus and academic life.
More than 20 tags will be pasted up on Tag Day and will designate gifts of all sizes, including buildings like Carr Plaza in the Sports and Rec Center, the Fuller Atrium, or the Class of 1948 Café featuring Dunkin’ Donuts. Gifts from a senior class or donated as a Reunion gift will also show the WPI community what a difference their individual contributions make.
“Tag Day just helps highlight how the campus would look so different without the donors’ generosity.”
With the largest tag measuring 2′ by 3′ and bearing the bright green and blue campaign colors, the tags will be easy to spot. Picozzi hopes people will see the tags and realize how the university is built by so many donations that come from various places.
The Tag Day table will have fun giveaways—students can pick up their own stickers that say, “I am here because of WPI donors!” Although roughly 70 percent of WPI students receive financial aid, the stickers apply to everyone, says Picozzi. And the idea is to show students that donations impact the university in intangible ways, as well. “Even if you don’t get financial aid, a building might be shaping your college experience,” she says.
Junior Tushar Narayan, a member of the Student Philanthropy Advisory Board, says he thinks students will be surprised at what has been given to the university. “From my perspective as a student, I don’t think we always realize the importance of giving back,” he says. “This drives home the importance of giving back. And that the amount isn’t the concern; it’s the giving.”
The message is also that students hold huge potential when they graduate and leave WPI. “When people think of fundraising and donations, it is all very personal,” says Picozzi. “Tag Day just helps highlight how the campus would look so different without the donors’ generosity. They paid it forward.” Students can see how one large donation makes an impact, but then they will also see how one student who gives a little bit every year is just as essential.
“It is that you are giving back,” she says. “If students can see that now, they will understand why alumni donations are so important to the school.” And Picozzi hopes everyone on campus will pause when they realize what donors have given. “Some things are surprising,” she says. “Dunkin’ was donated. Many people don’t know that. You see it every day and it becomes background. This will reintroduce you to things you walk past every day and that you may not realize are donated.”
Once the students see the tags, they will understand how those dollars translate into something that is both real and useful, she says. “These things were given to make their college experience better.”