Written By: Emma Blaiklock 17′

15320400_10209557764673512_577036300_nThe Friday after Thanksgiving, lines form miles down the streets for people waiting to trample each other to get great deals on stuff. Three days later, everyone is anxiously searching the web for the best bargains without having to leave the comfort of home or their office. Following our national day of giving thanks for what we have are two days centered solely on getting more things. “Giving Tuesday”, the day following Cyber Monday, began five years ago as a way to bring the focus back to being charitable and kicking off the giving season around the world.
Castleton University partook in Giving Tuesday for the second year in a row. Last year about 3,000 items were collected between the community, athletics and student government clubs. It was overall an incredibly successful day and we aimed to beat last year’s record for this year. My focus with helping to plan the events of the day that were centered around incorporating athletics, the student government clubs and the residence halls and increasing all of their involvement to help bring the whole campus together for the day.

e-blaiklock-givingAthletic teams competed against one another in a canned food drive, bringing in a total of 4,373 non-perishable food items! Men’s Ice Hockey ended up winning in the athletics competition with an average of 48 cans per team member. Eric Horsfield was able to organize and motivate not only the athletes but the entire athletics department through his dedication to the project, which alone helped us to surpass our goal of the previous year’s collection total.

On the clubs side of things, there were donations of clothing items, toiletries and non-perishable food items totaling around 1,100 items. HEAL Kenya, Rotaract, and the Student Nurses Association (SNA) were the top three donating clubs (listed in order of first to third). This year’s clubs will be donating their winnings (a total of $900 between the three groups) to local chapters of organizations that focus on working to better individuals lives in different ways.
Other clubs who participated in the day included (in no order): the History Club, Spectrum Pride, Sustainability Club, The Spartan, Business Club, Sports Admin Club, Men’s Rugby, Habitat for Humanity, PlanesWalkers Club, Democratic Leadership, Republican Club, and the Equestrian Club Team. Volunteers from Community Service House, and the Student Government Association contributed a combined total of about 90 hours on the day volunteering their time collecting items, counting and sorting them into distribution piles.
The day was incredibly successful thanks to the support of all the participating teams, clubs, faculty, staff, administration, community members and volunteers. This year we collected a grand total of 5,528 items to be donated to local organizations for distribution into the community. The benefiting local charities include: Castleton Cares, the Rutland County Women’s Network and Shelter, Fair Haven Concerned and the Rutland Community Cupboard.
On the academic side of campus the Gift of Life Marathon blood drive took place at President Wolk’s House, and the Giving Office collected monetary donations all day from sponsors around the country. It was really wonderful for me to see everyone on the campus able to get involved and be integrated into this important day through a variety of opportunities. I am looking forward to being an alumni and seeing the potential this day has to grow exponentially here on our campus as we all do our part for #GivingTuesday.