A special College Coffee inside Alumni Gym on Tuesday morning energized the Elon community for its fifth #ElonDay effort.
Cups of coffee helped take the chill off a cold and snowy March morning as the Elon University campus community gathered in Alumni Gym on Tuesday for a special College Coffee to celebrate #ElonDay, the university's single-day giving event to celebrate its 129th birthday.
Elon is marking its fifth #ElonDay, a day of giving that brings together those on campus and thousands of alumni, parents and friends of Elon around the world to support the mission of the university they hold dear. With events and displays of encouragement and appreciation throughout the day, the university is hoping to top last year's record-breaking tally of 4,299 gifts totaling more than $1,075,025.
"Today we are making a commitment to the future of Elon," said President Connie Ledoux Book, who is celebrating her first #ElonDay as the university's ninth president. "We can do more in the years ahead because of what we accomplish today, together."
An enthusiastic response to kick off #ElonDay Tuesday morning meant donors met the first challenge of the day with more than 1,250 gifts by 9:30 a.m. With the challenge met, the Elon Alumni Board will endow a new $100,000 scholarship for Elon students.
Jeanne Robertson of Burlington, N.C., an Elon trustee who with her husband, Jerry, has been a steadfast supporter of the university, told the crowd gathered in Alumni Gym that athletics originally drew the couple to Elon. To honor and support that athletics connection, Robertson announced that they would be offering a dollar-for-dollar match today for any gifts to the Phoenix Club or any Elon athletics team, up to a total contribution of $100,000 from the Robertsons.
Throughout the day, Elon fans can enjoy a series of videos featuring Robertson, a humorist and motivational speaker, with a range of Phoenix teams. Robertson encouraged the crowd — those in Alumni Gym and those viewing College Coffee live online — to find the videos on @ElonPhoenix social media accounts with the #JoinJeanne hashtag.
"While you're laughing at the videos, go ahead and be making your contribution, too," Robertson said.
College Coffee offered another opportunity for Elon to congratulate the women's basketball team, which will compete in its second-straight NCAA tournament following its Colonial Athletic Association tournament championship win last weekend. Selected as a No. 13 seed in the NCAA tournament, the Elon women will face N.C. State University at 2:30 p.m. on Friday.
"I can't say enough about the success of this team," President Book said. "I like record breakers. Today, we're going to take their lead on Elon Day. Let's break a record today!"
A mobile-friendly #ElonDay website is being updated throughout the day to include a total of Elon Day gifts in real-time, a live list of donors and interactive leaderboards displaying the academic schools, campus funds and athletic programs receiving support. Gifts of all sizes and designations will count toward the total given during the campaign.
SGA President Morgan Bodenarain '18 announced another challenge, with gifts to Elon's Greatest Needs matched dollar-for-dollar by Stephen and Susan Paneyko '20 and two anonymous Elon families, up to $100,000. "Together let's make this the most successful day of giving in Elon's history."
From 1 to 4 p.m., students can celebrate #ElonDay by catching a ride to class in two "Prize Cab" golf carts driven by Elon Student Alumni Ambassadors who will give them the chance to answer questions and win prizes.
Ambassadors will also be manning a photo booth on the first floor of Moseley Center and provide the opportunity to share pictures and comments on social media from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Last year, the #ElonDay hashtag became a nationally trending topic on Twitter and Instagram with more than 4,500 mentions across all social media channels.
Alumni chapters and clubs will hold more than 40 #ElonDay events across the country and in London.