Thanking private donors

Future Alumni Association to host GVS(You) Week

By Emily Doran | 2/19/17 9:28pm

To educate the Grand Valley State University community about the impact and importance of private donor funding, the Future Alumni Association (FAA) will be hosting GVS(You) Week from Monday, Feb. 20, to Friday, Feb. 24.

During this week, GVSU students will have the opportunity to write thank you notes to donors, attend an ice cream social to learn more about private funding and wear their Laker gear for a Spirit Day.

GVS(You) Week will focus specifically on thanking small, private donors. According to statistics provided by the FAA, 528 students donated to GVSU in 2016, as well as 54.2 percent of GVSU faculty and staff, and the average private donation to the university is less than $150.

Kelsey Keipert, the president of the FAA, said it was important to recognize these smaller donors who might otherwise be forgotten because their donations help fund important programs at GVSU.

“A lot of students don’t realize (that) tuition doesn’t cover everything and that if Grand Valley were funded just by tuition, there’s a lot things we as students would have to go without,” Keipert said. “The people who have names on the buildings are not the ones that we are looking at. We’re talking about young alumni who graduated, people who think that Grand Valley had a big impact on their life and want to pay it forward to current students.”

Caroline Miller, the communications and marketing officer of the FAA, reiterated the impact these small donors have.

“I think that a lot of students take for granted everything that the university has to offer,” Miller said. “They are thankful for free printing and all these tutoring centers, but that has to get funded in some way, and most of the time, it’s not even through big donors.

“We’re really just raising awareness that no matter what size donation it is, it goes a long way here at Grand Valley.”

Members of the FAA will be tabling in the Kirkhof Center and other locations throughout the week and giving cookies to students who write thank you notes to private donors.

“The target audience for the notes is alumni who gave less than $50 last year,” Keipert said. “The whole point is it’s the small donors that together all really make a big difference, which I think personally is cool.”

GVS(You) Week was started in 2013, and that year, about 100 thank you notes were sent out to private donors. Keipert said the past two years, roughly 700 thank you notes were sent. This year, she said, the goal was to increase that number to 800.

Keipert encouraged students to stop by the tables and write a quick thank you note.

“It only takes you a few minutes to write the note, but you can have that good feeling that sticks with you,” Keipert said. “A lot of these donors don’t get recognized that much because they only gave a little bit, so when they receive this thank you note in the mail from a student, they know that their small donation really did have an impact and that they are appreciated.”

As part of GVS(You) Week, students can also attend an ice cream social Tuesday, Feb. 21, in the Kirkhof Center from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. During this event, ice cream will be served by “celebrity” scoopers, aka GVSU administration higher-ups.

Students will have also have the chance to win prizes if they wear their Laker gear around campus Friday, Feb. 24.

“We’ll be at mystery locations, and if we see someone with Grand Valley gear on, (I) think this year we’re handing out drawstring backpacks and cute little things like that,” Miller said.

For more information about GVS(You) Week, visit

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