An annual tradition that symbolizes the ties between Georgia Southern University and the Statesboro-Bulloch County community continues today with the 37th Annual A Day for Southern.
Volunteers from around the community will visit local businesses and ask for a donation to help the Georgia Southern with costs not covered by state funds. If the past is any indicator, the people of Statesboro and Bulloch County will give generously.
“When I came to Georgia Southern and Statesboro in January, I knew I was coming to a very special university and community,” said Brooks Keel, president of Georgia Southern, who is participating in his first A day for Southern campaign. “For more than a century the people of Statesboro and Bulloch County have rallied around this university and supported its educational mission. While many communities support their local colleges and universities, the extent that Statesboro and Bulloch County support Georgia Southern and its students is tremendous.”
Max Manack, senior vice president for investments at Statesboro’s Merrill Lynch office and chairman of the Georgia Southern University Foundation board of directors, is the campaign chair.
Last year, the community donated more than $1.2 million during the one-day fundraising campaign.
“The people of Statesboro and Bulloch County see a donation to Georgia Southern University as an investment. It’s an investment in the future of our students and an investment in the future of this community,” Keel said.
The money raised through A Day for Southern goes towards academic scholarships as well as programs that benefit the community including the Center for Wildlife Education, Museum, Botanical Garden, Performing Arts Center and continuing education programs.
Like other institutions around the state, Georgia Southern has faced state-mandated budget cuts that make support from donors vital.
Last week, the university announced that it had an economic impact on the area of more than $795 million during the 2009-2010 fiscal year. Much of that impact came from student spending in area businesses.
“Georgia Southern University and the Statesboro-Bulloch County community have grown together,” Keel said. “It’s very rewarding to know that the university’s positive growth extends beyond our campus and has such a direct impact on the community. It is that relationship that makes A Day for Southern so successful each year.”
Director of Annual Giving Wendell Tompkins agreed. “Every month, I receive calls from other colleges and universities who want to learn more about A Day for Southern,” he said. “Many campuses have tried to duplicate our program and our results, but they haven’t been as successful.”
Faculty and staff members also are asked to donate and many campus departments have 100-percent employee participation — something else Tompkins says is almost unheard of at other universities around the country.
Community volunteers, along with members of the university’s leadership, will visit businesses and contacts throughout the day. Individuals wishing to contribute to A Day for Southern who are not contacted by a volunteer may stop by the Nessmith-Lane Building before 5 p.m. today.