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By Matt McDonald
This spring, Plattsburgh students had power. By checking boxes on slips of paper called Burghy Bucks, they gave one campus program $5,000.
The Give a Buck campaign, launched this semester by Institutional Advancement and executed by students in an upper level public relations class, ended at the Student Association’s Spring Carnival on May 6 with the announcement of the winning program. Track and Field, garnering 301 out of 1,621 total votes, took home the prize.
As the campaign heated up, Assistant Track and Field Coach Andrew Krug rallied his troops, turning them into impromptu Give a Buck ambassadors. He directed each of his athletes to bring three friends to the Give a Buck table and send him a picture to prove they completed Burghy Bucks.
“This was a huge learning experience.”
The $5,000 gift Krug’s team received was donated by alumnus Richard Pfadenhauer ’85.
Pfadenhauer’s generosity allowed for Give a Buck’s central purpose — to raise awareness for the Plattsburgh College Foundation among students by allowing them to give without giving real money. After the PR students explained the value of the foundation at meetings with student groups, students individually selected their choice to win the prize from the list of programs funded by the foundation.
“The strength of the foundation relies on awareness of its activities,” Pfadenhauer said. “It relies on current and past students.” In addition to supporting student scholarships and covering costs not paid by tuition, the foundation provides funds for academic departments, programs such as study abroad and student and faculty travel as well as resources across campus — the library, learning center and fitness center, to name a few.
“If you don’t put anything in, nothing comes out,” Pfadenhauer said. “This is another way my wife and I were able to help SUNY Plattsburgh students succeed.”
In addition to supporting the college, the campaign gave the PR students a unique experiential learning opportunity.
“This campaign has given us knowledge and skills we couldn’t have gotten anywhere else,” said public relations student Fredrica Appau. “I learned how to reach out to people in a professional manner.”
The students learned first-hand the value of face-to-face communication as they presented to students across campus. To cap their project, they also prepared a 37-page report and presented their work to professors and their ‘clients’ in Institutional Advancement.
“Communicating effectively was key,” PR student Jordan Seymour said. “We learned how to get people to listen to us."
Going forward, the Give a Buck campaign will likely be repeated. In the meantime, you can look back on the campaign at burghybuck.com.
For more information about supporting SUNY Plattsburgh, please contact:
Anne Whitmore Hansen
Executive Director, Plattsburgh College Foundation
Vice President for Institutional Advancement
Office: Hawkins Hall 109
Phone: (518) 564-2090