Northeastern celebrates a record-breaking Giving Day

Giving Day at Northeastern is 24 hours of philanthropy and fun, with the goal of raising money to support students and their organizations and programs.

This year, the university community collected a record $3.4 million from more than 11,000 donors (both in person and online) across the globe in more than 30 countries.

One hundred percent of donations go to the faculty, teams, student organizations and academic programs associated with Giving Day — directly helping students and faculty pursue their ambitions.

The fundraising marathon — which also includes students on Northeastern’s 13 global campuses — is a university-wide affair that brings together academic colleges, students clubs and athletics programs.

“It’s really the entire Northeastern University community that makes it successful,” said Lori Jacques, Northeastern associate vice president of alumni relations and annual giving. “Everyone is pushing out information to their networks about supporting the institution.”

Despite some drizzling rain on the Boston campus, the day was packed with activities, including live student performances, free giveaways and more.

Students clubs making a community impact 

More than 45 student organizations set up tables inside the Curry Student Center, promoting their clubs’ missions while seeking donations.

Art4All president Anjali Aggarwal, a third-year business administration major, set up a small temporary tattoo station to help get people in the festive mood.

Aggarwal explained that she formed the club in fall 2022 to help reduce the barrier of entry for those interested in pursuing painting and drawing, but don’t have the resources to buy supplies.

“A lot of art supplies are really expensive and inaccessible, so it’s really hard for some populations like marginalized communities to have access to these materials,” she said. “So essentially, we do on campus and off campus events and workshops. We do workshops for students at Northeastern, but we also do workshops at Boston Healthcare for the Homeless and other community centers.”

Aggarwal was fundraising during Giving Day to buy more arts materials and host more workshops around the Boston area.

“Giving Day is really important to us because it extends that cycle of community service — taking what’s yours and sharing it,” she said.

Just a few tables to the right, Luke Powers, a third-year business and analytics major, and Genaro LaBanca, a third-year criminal justice major, were highlighting the work of Northeastern’s Habitat for Humanity Club, an extension of the Boston branch of Habitat for Humanity International.

“Really the main mission in Boston is to fight the housing crisis,” Powers said. “The cost of housing is really expensive. In Boston, there are a lot of families that can’t afford to live here.”

Several times throughout the semester, members of the club go to houses being built by Habitat for Humanity.

“The building that we helped build in the past two semesters has been in Malden, Massachusetts,” Powers said. “It takes about two years to build these. There’s a lot of unskilled labor to build them.”

Northeastern’s Giving Day allows the club to raise funds to help support that mission. It costs about $75 a day for a person to volunteer to help build with Habitat for Humanity, a charitable organization.

That’s about $750 for 10 members of the Northeastern club to participate. The funds collected during Giving Day will be used to offset those costs, Powers said. But he added that the club was involved in the day to do more than just raise money.

“We’re really just working on spreading our mission. With the monetary stuff, we’ll figure that out as we go,” he said.

Some student clubs were using the Giving Day event to help fund student trips.

Jason Kobrin, a member of the Students for the Exploration of Development of Space (SEDS), was helping showcase the Northeastern Mars Rover’s team award-winning rover during the event. The Mars Rover Team is part of SEDS and competes in competitions annually.

The team’s big event is the annual University Rover Challenge held outside Hanksville, Utah. The trip is an expensive competition and costs thousands of dollars for multiple members to attend.

Last year, the club raised about $9,000 to help support that effort. This year, they are looking to raise $10,000 to $12,000.

“We are planning on bringing between 20 to 22 students to Utah to our competition, which is a little under half our team,” he said.

Northeastern’s Bhangra Team was among the student groups that performed during the event.

Bhangra is a form of Indian folk dance that originated from Punjab, India, explained Pragya Narahari, a third-year pharmaceutical science major and a member of the club.

“We’re the only all female identifying Bhangra team in the Greater Boston area,” she said.

Bhangra was originally used to celebrate the harvest, said Simran Bassra, a first-year business and psychology major. However, it has evolved to serve as a way to keep Punjab culture alive.

Live pie throwing 

The Bamboo Tents located outside Robinson quad were also abuzz with activities and featured perhaps one of the most comical of exhibits: live pie throwing.

The spectacle was organized by Northeastern’s athletics department as part of its fundraising efforts.

From the morning to the afternoon, various student athletes got a pie in the face, including those who are members of the hockey teams, the basketball teams and the soccer teams.

But it wasn’t just the students who participated. Jim Madigan, Northeastern’s athletic director, was also among those who got “pied.”

Volunteers were handing out bags of Pop Weaver buttered popcorn, blue raspberry and pink vanilla cotton candy, an assortment of mini cupcakes, and chocolate, vanilla, coffee and raspberry whoopie pies, courtesy of Northeastern Dining.

Attendees who donated could also get some free goodies, including black tumblers, free Northeastern stickers, black aviator sunglasses, Giving Day T-shirts and leather wallets adorned with the university’s logo.

With whipped cream still dripping off his face, Madigan highlighted the importance of the day.

“The importance of Giving Day is that it brings the Northeastern community together, whether it be on the Boston campus or other global campuses,” he said. “There’s a call to action in terms of providing opportunities and resources to every constituency, every facet of the university.”

“The importance of Giving Day is that it brings the Northeastern community together, whether it be on the Boston campus or other global campuses.”

—Jim Madigan, Director of Athletics

This article was originally written by Cesareo Contreras
and published in Northeastern Global News.