Giving day makes its return for the 2021-2022 academic year this week, and with it comes the hopes of helping get all 17 athletic teams on campus extra funds. The day helps teams that may not be given a lot of attention, earn money that they would otherwise not see.
On Friday, Giving day will officially start and teams will look to gain support for the upcoming seasons.
This year there will be a competition of sorts for teams and donors. There will be additional money given to teams that earn the most by a certain time. For example, the team that earns the most money by 10 a.m. this Friday will earn another $250. The two teams with the most money raised by 3 p.m. will get $500. Finally, the three teams with the most money raised by 11:59 p.m. will earn $1,000.
“I’m so excited because I’m going to sit up in the foundation for the entire day that I don’t have a meeting, and I want to get some things like pizza and soda to celebrate the gifts that are coming in,” Athletic Director Roberta Page said.
This is Page’s first giving day as athletic director and it’s something she’s looking forward to. She wants the day to bring attention to the teams that may not be earning as much money as sports such football and baseball. The day was created to help with that.
“I want to pick up the phone and say thank you [to people who donate] on behalf of the athletic department, without you we wouldn’t be successful,” Page said. “So, I’ve committed to make phone calls to every person at a certain level, but I just don’t know what level yet.”
The past few weeks have been used to get each sport excited for giving day. In years past, the day has been much smaller, but with the arrival of Page, the day has been getting hyped up much more.
“I’ve been trying to get our coaches excited about it and our alumni excited about it, because I know our foundation is because it’s a big day for us,” Page said.
Alumni are huge part of what the day is all about. Every team is counting on alumni of their programs to help give them a boost. The day is centered on players of the past who are looking to help support the teams in the future.
“[Giving day] is big, because this is when you find out who your supporters are of your program, whether you know them or you don’t,” Page said. “This is when they come out of the woodwork to say, ‘I want to give to something that I believed in.’”
That support could make all the difference for teams like volleyball and softball who, in comparison to other programs, may not be making as much and may not have as many fans in the stands as well.
“It’s a great opportunity for those smaller teams to connect with their alumni, their family and friends to give back to the common cause, which is their individual sport,” Page said.
Connection is the biggest aspect of this day. According to Page, the day is all about feeling connected.
“I want to make sure people feel connected, because if there isn’t a connection or if you didn’t have a good experience here, then why would you give?” Page said. “I need to change that if we have people who thought that Slippery Rock wasn’t good to them.”
The funds that are gained during Giving day will be used for student-athlete scholarships and team operating expenses.
This year also marks 50 years of Title IX, and because of that there may also be an emphasis this Giving day on helping women programs that may not have had the opportunities in the past that they do now.
“This might be a time when you see folks that are supportive of that, especially women who went through that,” Page said. “They may be like, ‘You know what, here is my giving because I didn’t have it.’”
The hope for the event is to break records that have been set in previous years. If that were to happen in her first year, Page doesn’t quite know what she’d do.
“Man if we break some records, I don’t know what I’ll do, I may have to give everyone something here on campus, because that would be the best thing that could ever happen to me this year,” Page said. “I say that getting the job was the best thing, but if we would break some sort of record on our Giving day, I should probably get a tattoo or something, I don’t know.”