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'A Thousand Thanks' begins at College Coffee

Now in its third year, organizers hope to top the number of handwritten thank-you notes to Elon University donors in 2011.


10/31/12 UPDATE: As of Wednesday morning, organizers reported that they are about a third of the way to meeting their goal for this year's 'A Thousand Thanks' campaign. Check out this video from College Coffee yesterday to see why many students took part in a program that expresses gratitude to university donors for all their gifts do to support the Elon experience, and be sure to visit tables in Moseley Center today and Thursday to write your own note of appreciation!



Nothing says “thank you” like a handwritten note, and Elon University students, faculty and staff will soon have the opportunity to share their gratitude in such fashion with donors who have helped to shape the institution into what it is today.

Co-sponsored by the Student Government Association and Student Alumni Council, the 3rd annual “A Thousand Thanks” runs Oct. 30-Nov. 1 as coordinators of the initiative look to surpass last year’s mark of 1,247 handwritten thank-you notes. The event formally kicks off at College Coffee the day before Halloween. Tables in Moseley Center's Hearth Lounge and Koury Business Center will be staffed with student volunteers during the following hours:

Tuesday, October 30, from 12-4 p.m.
Tuesday, October 30, from 4-7 p.m., (Koury Business Center)
Wednesday, October 31, from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Thursday, November 1, from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Co-coordinated by juniors Kelly Smith and Carolina O’Brien, "A Thousand Thanks" will be staffed by volunteers from several campus groups. At the event participants can pull slips of paper with information about donors and their gifts from a fishbowl and write personalized messages on specially designed notecards.

Notes will be mailed to donors before Thanksgiving.

“A lot of people we’re writing to are faculty and staff,” said Smith, a management major from Hudson, Ohio, with career aspirations of working in donor relations for a college or university. “Students don’t really think the professors teaching their classes, or staff doing cleaning or maintenance, are financially invested in their Elon experiences. It’s important to recognize those efforts.”

Diversity is the theme of this year's event. Notecards designed by Elon senior Nick Martin contain “thank you” in more than a dozen languages, and those who write messages will receive one of four different stickers that say “I thanked” in various languages.

But it’s not just cultural diversity that organizers cite when talking about the theme.

“We wanted to focus a bit more on the diversity of who the donors are, what they’re donating, and what they’re donating to,” said O’Brien, a marketing major from Concord, Mass. Scholarships, buildings, annual gifts, contributions to athletics programs, study abroad resources and professorships are just some of the ways donors enhance the opportunities for those who live and work at the university.

Having campus organizations play an active role in the program makes it more authentic and helps the message of expressing gratitude resonate with students, Smith said. She and O’Brien are working with the Office of Donor Relations in University Advancement to coordinate the campaign.

For more information on “A Thousand Thanks,” email Smith at ksmith61@elon.edu or O’Brien at cobrien13@elon.edu.

Eric Townsend,
10/31/2012 8:47 AM