Giving is a fundamental part of success on campus.

The floodgates for UT's Big Orange Give opened Nov. 4 at 4 p.m. In 125 hours, the online donation campaign doubled its goal of $125,000. Within 48 hours, participants had given $175,000. The campaign closed with $250,105 and more than 1,640 donors.

The fundraiser, a first for UT, used social media to target potential donors and broaden the campaign's reach. Many of the event's contributors were university alumni.

"I feel as alumni, that the experience we had as a student of the University of Tennessee should be passed on to future generations," said Sarah Arms, head coach of the Lady Vols Rowing team. "So the only way that is able to happen is by having the support of alumni that really enjoy their experience at UT."

Emily Costanzo, vice president of membership for Student Alumni Associates and a senior interdisciplinary major, helped to implement and execute the project.

"I hope that this has opened the eyes and ears of students and alumni for future give campaigns so we can continue hosting such successful events," Costanzo said.

Notable donors to the campaign personal include Dave Ramsey and Chancellor Jimmy Cheek.

"We had high profile university leaders and alumni pledge gifts if our alumni and friends were able to raise a certain dollar amount," said Taylor Lance, director of Annual Giving and Student Philanthropy. "For example, Dave Ramsey pledged that if we could raise $25,000 on his day he would give $25,000 to an area at UT he is passionate about. The challenge gifts were a huge driver for getting alumni and friends to buy in and make their own personal gift."

Costanzo said she believes the value of the Big Orange Give lies beyond financial success.

"I think students were able to see how important it is to give to the university once you graduate," Costanzo said. "So many students don't realize that the tuition we pay only covers a fraction of our education each semester and without alumni support, that tuition would cost even more each year. We hope that we can start a culture of giving that will continue in the future."

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