As campus reopens after the storm, students may notice more than snow covering the ground. Large green tags, placed in seemingly arbitrary locations across campus, have been put down to represent contributions from donors.
The tags have been placed in honor of Thank-A-Giver (TAG) Day, an annual event that is dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of donors to Binghamton University. The event, organized by the Binghamton Fund and the Binghamton University Student Philanthropy Committee, was started in 2014.
Approximately 5 percent of the University’s annual revenue comes from donor gifts. Last year, BU received $11.5 million in donations. Jim Broschart, vice president for advancement at BU, wrote in an email that these donations allow the University to help students and faculty in ways that otherwise would not be possible.
“We know that state support represents only a portion of our funding,” Broschart wrote. “Gifts enable us to help students by funding research opportunities, scholarships and study abroad, for example. From time to time, gifts also help us renovate or equip campus facilities.”
Donations can come from almost anybody. Last year, 6.2 percent of alumni gave back to BU and 14.2 percent of senior students donated. Other donors included parents, faculty, staff and other friends of the University. According to Broschart, BU recently received two large donations that will help support academics: one from professor Tsuming Wu and another anonymous gift in honor of the late professor George Klir.
“Professor Wu’s gift will create merit-based fellowships for first year doctoral students in mathematics or the natural sciences,” Broschart wrote. “The anonymous gift will create the first named professorship in the Watson School and enable the school to attract an accomplished scholar to build on Dr. George Klir’s groundbreaking work in complex systems, cybernetics and fuzzy logic.”
TAG Day is designed to draw attention to the impact that these donors have on campus. Over 500 tags will be placed this year, which is roughly the same as previous years. Caitlyn Smith, director of the Binghamton Fund, said that the tags can be placed anywhere on campus to represent both physical gifts and intangible ones.
“[The gifts] range from physical items that have been given to the University [to] areas made possible thanks to donor support, such as the new Zurack Family Group Study Rooms,” Smith wrote in an email. “We also try to highlight some of the more intangible things that donors have made possible, such as study abroad opportunities in the Education Abroad office or tagging an office for a faculty member who received donor funding for a research opportunity.”
In addition, stickers stating “I Give Back” for donors or “I Benefit” for others will be distributed to students, staff and faculty to help show the importance of donations to the University. Smith wrote that donations and gifts to BU fill a gap between state funding and University expenses. The stickers, in addition to the tags placed around campus, thank donors for their support.
“It’s not always immediately obvious what kind of impact donors have at Binghamton,” Smith wrote. “We partner across campus to make this day possible, and every year more and more people want to get involved, which is wonderful.”