Athletics Department Hosts Annual Fundraiser

The Athletics Department uses the funds raised to support the students and faculty. Photo credit Devon Jane Schweitzer.

Last week, the third annual Giving Week returned to SUNY New Paltz’s Athletics Department. 

From midnight on April 22 until April 28 at 11:59 p.m., people were encouraged to donate money across the 16 varsity teams and the general athletic and wellness department with the goal set at $65k.

The money collected would go towards technology enhancements, extended team travel, student-athlete development and equipment. A portion of the funds will also go towards the new fueling station, which had its grand opening on April 4 and provides student-athletes with on-the-go snacks.

As of Wednesday, May 1, the campaign raised $40,098.63, with the top three on the leaderboard as follows: Men’s soccer raised $6,470,75, field hockey raised $4,381.41 and Athletics raised $4,244.72.

The event began back in spring of 2021 as a way to “fill in the gaps that [their] operating budget falls short on,” according to Renee Bostic, the director of Athletics, Wellness and Recreation. Initially called the Giving Days Challenge, the campaign lasted for three days before being expanded to a full week the following year. In 2022, the first year of the campaign’s expansion, the department reported a grand total of $54,088.19 raised with the support of hundreds of donors. 2023 saw $39,035.91 raised, which went towards Athlete Talk, a mental health app, Gipper a graphic design platform and Playsight, a live streaming service in the Hawk Center.

Social media was the primary way teams spread the word on this campaign, using videos to explain how funds will be used as well as the benefits it will provide. Students created promotional videos on platforms like Instagram and Facebook.

One of the challenges of Giving Week is time. With spring sports in full-swing, much of the advertising relies on the communications team, run by Monica D’Ippolito, the senior director of communications for the athletics department. Having a close relationship with the SUNY New Paltz Foundation, though helpful in bringing in funds, “can be challenging given limited staff with significant responsibilities,” said Bostic. Despite the setbacks, the team still manages to host and promote this campaign.

Giving Week gathers its support from donors such as alumni, parents, family members and friends of the program. This campaign worked in conjunction with this year’s Alumni Weekend, which invited over 200 student-athlete alumni to campus, meeting current athletes and reconnecting with the department.

Though the campaign did not reach their overall goal, the money will still go towards the needs of the student-athletes. The donation link is always open to those wanting to donate, but for those wishing to donate for Giving Week, they’ll just have to wait until next year.