In extraordinary times, Giving Day puts new twist on spring event

Ducks Give illustration with the Duck

Like many university traditions, the UO’s fifth annual Giving Day is going to be different this year.

But May 14 will still present an opportunity to gather together, remotely, and thank UO donors, said Mike Andreasen, vice president for university advancement.

“Though our campus is always beautiful during springtime, it doesn’t look or feel quite the same this year,” Andreasen said.  “However, world-class teaching, learning and research is still happening. This will be a great day to celebrate our Duck community and the donors who help make it all possible.”

Annually the event inspires more than $1 million in gifts for scholarships, faculty support, programs and more. This year, #DucksGive will focus on coming together and saying thank you to all those who have helped during this unprecedented time. Events include a live virtual discussion with UO seniors, a night of trivia for Ducks and a panel on women leaving their legacy at the university.

For the past four years, the spring #DucksGive event has provided donors, alumni and friends with opportunities to join grassroots fundraising efforts for areas across campus. Through fun giving challenges, donors throw down the gauntlet, inspiring others to help unlock matching gifts and surprises. Last year, they unlocked a pizza party for business students and a song from a musician donor, along with various matching gifts.

Over the past two months, the university has been working hard to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, pivot quickly to remote learning and support students, Andreasen said. For example, in less than a month UO faculty and staff members called or texted almost every one of the university’s U.S. undergraduates, answering questions and offering encouragement.

Andreasen added that friends of the UO have also stepped up to help students weather the crisis and stay on track to earn their degrees. On March 30, President Michael Schill committed to providing $1 million in funds for the Students in Crisis Fund. University Advancement is currently raising funds to fulfill this commitment, and has raised more than $675,000 from more than 1,200 donors through the UO’s DuckFunder campaign and from other gifts received in only two months.

The university is committed to supporting students and will continue its fundraising efforts to provide sustainable support to the fund for students now and into the future, Andreasen said.

“We are humbled and grateful for the incredible outpouring of support in response to this immediate need,” he said. “Our donors share an exceptional commitment to the university, and their support for the Students in Crisis Fund is a great example.”

In addition to celebrating this generosity, #DucksGIve organizers want to provide opportunities for the university community to join together through social media, virtual events and a new video featuring students and alumni. During a live panel at noon, UO seniors will talk about what spring quarter has been like for them, and what friends and alumni can do to help. A Student Alumni Association panel titled “Carrying Out A New Narrative” at 5:30 p.m. will feature a current student and three alumnae.

Join the UO Alumni Association and the Student Alumni Association at 7:30 p.m. for a night of trivia, hosted by special guest and former Ducks defensive back Isaac Walker II, a 2000 graduate. Categories include the UO, the state of Oregon, Ducks athletics and #DucksGive. Register online.

#DucksGive happens Thursday, May 14. To learn more or join the activities, visit ducksgive.uoregon.edu.

By Ed Dorsch, University Communications