On Sept. 16, NC State held its second annual Day of Giving, a 24-hour fundraising event which raises money to support student scholarship awards and financial aid to further the University’s mission of inclusivity and diversity. This year, NC State students and alumni donated over $23 million to the fundraiser, topping last year’s $13.2 million.
However, while the Day of Giving has been successful for the University the past two years, it has been a point of contention for students, especially this year. With many having lost their jobs and the impending possibility of an economic recession due to the pandemic, some students are unsure how much anyone is truly able to give during this time.
Student Senate President Coleman Simpson said the Day of Giving always carries a certain amount of controversy.
“It brings into question how much a university should be relying on its students to fund things when we’re already paying tuition and fees,” Simpson said.
However, Simpson said he appreciated the marketing for donations directed at alumni rather than students.
“In light of this year, they didn’t target students directly,” Simpson said. “And I think that was the appropriate thing to do this year because students are one of the most impacted populations... It was geared more towards alumni, which I agree with.”
Kelly Nguyen, a fourth-year studying biochemistry, said she does not currently find the Day of Giving appropriate.
“At first thought, I found NC State’s Day of Giving this year to be completely insensitive, selfish and greedy,” Nguyen said. “What more could NC State ask for? They brought us back to school for a week, only to transition to virtual learning, all while charging us all the same amount of tuition as if we were getting the same quality of education that we would under normal circumstances.”
She said she believes NC State could still provide for its students by using the funds to address relevant needs.
“The University could use these funds towards a COVID-19 relief program for students and faculty whose financial and living situations have been negatively and severely impacted by the pandemic,” Nguyen said. “However they spend it, NC State is going to have to tread super carefully since it’ll heavily impact the relationship and perspective that students, faculty and donors have towards the school.”
Others, like Alex Crespo, a fourth-year studying political science, said they share Nguyen’s critical view of the event.
“I believe the Day of Giving — while well-intentioned — is an incredibly tone-deaf response by the current NCSU administration amidst a very revealing time,” Crespo said.
However, he said he could see positivity in the promotion of Wolfpack unity through the event.
“If nothing else, the Day of Giving initiative has only proven to remind me of how much generosity our student body has for our fellow man and how little our school has for its students,” Crespo said. “Indeed, how much has our university ‘given’ in these past six months besides a subpar education, nonexistent student services, a meager refund for those sent home and some sporadic emails alerting us that we are — as expected — in danger.”
Sarah Choffin, a third-year studying nutrition science, said she was at a loss about what to make of the fundraiser in the current social context.
“I’m stuck on how to feel about NC State's Day of Giving, to be completely honest,” Choffin said. “I understand that these donations can help students in times of need especially, specifically, regarding things with coronavirus... but many students as a result of the pandemic have also been out of a job, like me, as well as many of my peers, and are struggling financially as a result, so I don’t think there’s a right answer to this controversy, all in all.”
More information regarding the Day of Giving can be found through the University’s website.