Each fall for the past two years, The University of Tulsa has held an annual crowdfunding campaign called ’Cane Crowd. Its mission: to raise funds for projects that support TU students and the wider community. This year, the campaign will run from Monday, Nov. 30, to Friday, Dec. 4, including #GivingTuesday on Dec. 1.
Madison Cotherman, TU’s director of annual and affinity giving, is leading the 2020 ‘Cane Crowd campaign. According to Cotherman, ’Cane Crowd plays a distinctive role: “While most university fundraising efforts happen on a large scale, drawing attention and funds to entire colleges or scholarship endowments, ’Cane Crowd is an opportunity to highlight unique and timely projects happening at TU with smaller fundraising goals that are under $10,000.” Rather than focusing on larger projects, ’Cane Crowd seeks to help raise money for smaller initiatives.
Each year, the ’Cane Crowd organizers solicit project pitches from students, faculty and staff. All four projects selected for TU’s third ‘Cane Crowd attempt to address challenges facing TU students, while one of them also extends the university’s resources out into the community.
1921 Race Massacre Centennial Coalition
The first project is focused on supporting the work of the 1921 Race Massacre Centennial Coalition, a new entity in TU’s College of Law comprised of students, faculty and alumni. The Coalition’s mission is to mark the centennial of the tragedy with hope and action. Members hope to launch new programming, such as pop-up legal clinics in the Greenwood area and establish a scholarship endowment to foster diversity within TU Law.
This project’s fundraising goal is $10,000. The money will go toward programming costs, such as rent for the pop-up legal clinic locations. If the Coalition reaches its goal, loyal alumni and local law firms have agreed to match that. Those “challenge gift” funds would go toward the scholarship endowment. “I can think of no better way to honor the Greenwood Community and legacy of Black Wall Street than by hosting legal clinics and establishing a scholarship for a deserving TU Law student. Please join us and be a part of history,” said Dwain Midget (JD ’03), the Coalition’s chair.
TU Food Pantry
The second project is directed at establishing a TU Food Pantry, which is being launched on campus in late December or early January by True Blue Neighbors and Sharp Chapel. In a recent survey, 25% of participating TU students reported they had experienced food insecurity, and even more reported they could not afford to eat healthy and balanced meals. “Food insecurity on college campuses is a growing problem across the county,” said Melissa Abdo, the program coordinator for True Blue Neighbors and the lead on this project. “We are excited to partner on this TU Food Pantry project to provide fresh produce, proteins and pantry staples, ensuring our students have access to healthy food.”
The Food Pantry team’s fundraising goal is $5,000. If they reach that objective, those funds will help transform TU’s bike shop space into a welcoming and functional food pantry through the purchase of refrigerators and other necessary equipment.
Textbook Reserve Program
The third project aims to fund a new Textbook Reserve Program at TU. Everyone knows that textbooks can be expensive, but the ability to afford those prices should not inhibit a student’s success in the classroom. To help solve this challenge and work to expand resources, McFarlin Library plans to launch the Textbook Reserve Program to increase affordable student access to classroom material.
“A donation to the Textbook Reserve Program would go directly toward purchasing a copy of all required undergraduate textbooks over $100,” remarked April Schweikhard, the director of library public services and the project’s lead. “Students would be able to check out their textbooks from McFarlin Library throughout the semester and have more access to the course materials they need to succeed.”
This project’s goal is $10,000. With those funds, the library would start acquiring all required undergraduate textbooks that cost more than $100. Students would then be able to check them out for a few hours at a time throughout the semester.
Virtual Reality for Nursing Education
In addition to the many challenges posed by the global pandemic, COVID-19 has also complicated how TU’s nursing students achieve their required clinical hours. The School of Nursing is looking to raise $5,300 to amplify its use of virtual reality (VR) technology. Additional VR equipment and software would allow current students to continue getting the skills training they need, even if remotely.
A donation to the Virtual Reality for Nursing Education project would go directly toward purchasing equipment and software to begin engaging all students in this innovative teaching modality. Bill Buron, the director of the School of Nursing and the lead on this project, observed: “Expanded VR would provide students a safe and realistic simulated environment for engaging in clinical experiences that have been more limited in real life due to COVID-19. Because there is a severe shortage of nursing faculty nationwide and the average age of a nursing faculty is approaching 60, new and innovative teaching strategies are needed that may save faculty time while actively engaging students in learning and developing clinical and critical thinking skills in increasingly complex healthcare environments.” In addition, this project would kickstart collaborations between the TU School of Nursing and the Tandy School of Computer Science as the two units work together to develop new and engaging VR software to teach students particular clinical nursing skills.
Be part of ’Cane Crowd 2020! Learn more and pitch in from Nov. 30 to Dec. 4.