By Grace Lynn Keller
Monday marked the beginning of University of Iowa’s Phil Week, a fundraising event for nine campaigns on campus.
The nine projects for this year’s Phil Week include empowering UI WiSE Femineers, supporting the graduation Herky statues, supporting Sunday dinners at the multicultural resource centers, funding the liberal-arts faculty, staff, and friends scholarships, supporting diversity among business leaders, purchasing journals for pediatric-pain and palliative-care families, funding two student library employee scholarships, helping Hawkeye teachers in hurricane zones, and funding a global health nursing student experience in Switzerland.
Staff and faculty may choose one of the options for their donations, but they are also encouraged to give in any area they support or are passionate about, Dana Larson, the executive director of communications and marketing for the UI Center for Advancement, said.
This year is the first time in the history of Phil Week that donations will be made online through the crowd-funding site GOLDrush.
“We Are Phil Week is all about highlighting the difference the faculty and staff can make at the university,” Larson said. “It’s our way of celebrating faculty and staff who make a difference.”
Phil Week is in its fifth year at the university, and the number of donors continues to grow.
Larson said that last year, just under 17 percent of university employees gave during Phil Week, and the Center for Advancement hopes to see that number grow this year.
“Our goal is participation, not a certain dollar amount,” she said.
David McCartney, an archivist for the UI Libraries and one of three co-chairs of We Are Phil, said he believes supporting scholarship is one of the most important things faculty and staff can do.
“We Are Phil is an opportunity for the university community to step up and show support,” he said.
McCartney is a member of the We Are Phil leadership team in memory of a former UI student who was very active in the civil-rights movement in the 1960s. He and his spouse have created a scholarship in the man’s honor, and it’s one of the many ways they choose to give to the university.
McCartney also recognizes how giving during Phil Week helps students in all areas of study gain financial assistance in their pursuit to a degree.
“I remember at the time I went to college how much scholarships benefited me,” he said. “I want to pay it forward.”
Professor Sue O’Dorisio, also a co-chair of We Are Phil, said that to her, Phil Week is about community.
“It’s a time when we as faculty, staff, and students concentrate on giving back to the university, no matter how little or how much,” she said.
O’Dorisio is a UI professor of pediatrics, hematology, and oncology, as well as the fellowship director for pediatric hematology and oncology.
She said she looks forward to this special time at the university because of the togetherness it brings.
“We are all in this together, making not just the community but the whole state of Iowa a better place,” she said.