UT Thanks Day celebrates University donors

Meara Isenberg

Alfonso Toscano took a detour on his way to class Wednesday morning, stopping to sign a card, grab a doughnut and thank the donors who impacted his five years at the University.

“Sometimes we can get caught up in the routine of everyday,” said Toscano, an accounting graduate student. “We all need a moment to just stop and think about what we’re thankful for. … We don’t necessarily think of (donors) everyday, but they are the reason we are here.”

UT Thanks Day provided the chance to do just that, bringing students from across campus together to sign personalized thank you notes for University donors.

“Engaging students is a really important part of fundraising,” said UT alumna Raine Munkens, donor relations development specialist. “A lot of these donors give back because they want to be connected with the campus, and they want to have access to the students because they’re their investment.”

Munkens, who coordinated Thanks Day, said the eighth annual event took a different approach than in years past. The event involved all major colleges and schools at UT in order to thank more than 6,400 donors. From Moody to McCombs, schools tabled throughout the morning to reach this goal.

Texas Orange Jacket member Guneez Ibrahim tabled on Wednesday in front of Gregory Plaza. Ibrahim said tuition and fees, which account for 21 percent of UT’s annual budget, are not enough to keep the University running.

“We are collecting letters … to help bridge the gap between where tuition doesn’t cover our funding,” said Ibrahim, a design and sociology senior. “I think a lot of times there’s a lot of disconnect between the actual campus life and the people who are supporting (campus). Tangible evidence of why this funding matters — it’s something that the donors need to hear.”

Munkens also stressed the importance of students personally writing letters. As a former UT graduate and scholarship recipient, she said this event serves as a reminder to students that although they may not know the donors personally, they have seen the impact of their donations throughout their time at UT.

“I learned to really appreciate the value not only just the money, but just the interests the donors take in the students, and improving their lives,” Munkens said. “(I hope) students realize that there are people on the other side.”