Annual RIT giving campaign kicks off Thursday with a ROAR

Goal for the day: 1,160 donors

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A. Sue Weisler

Last year, 1,054 people made donations to RIT on ROAR Day, and 68 percent of the donors were students. More than $50,000 was raised.

Every donor has a personal reason for supporting RIT.

Karen Barrows, secretary of the institute and chief of staff, has several.

“I got a master’s degree for relatively little cost,” she says. “That led to opportunities I would not otherwise have had, so that has proven very valuable to me.

“I grew up with the idea that it is important to give back,” she adds.

Plus, organizations that rank colleges and universities measure the rate of giving participation by various groups such as students, alumni, faculty and staff. “It doesn’t matter how much people give; it’s participating that’s important. Higher levels of participation strengthen RIT’s reputation,” Barrows points out. “All of us benefit from being part of a highly regarded institution.”

Faculty, staff and students are invited to follow Barrows’ example as the Fund for RIT kicks off its annual giving campaign on ROAR Day. The seventh annual Raise Our Annual Responses initiative takes place Oct. 18. Donors can make gifts at eight locations around campus or online. (Go to for details about giving and to learn how to download the ROAR Day Facebook donor badge.)

Everyone has a chance to win numerous prizes including a $250 Barnes & Noble gift card, $250 Barnes & Noble book scholarship, a winter quarter parking pass, RIT Dining Services gift cards, RIT sweatshirts and gear, and gift cards to local businesses. Besides the satisfaction of supporting their university, donors will receive a thank-you gift and those giving $5 or more receive a sticker good for a free scoop of ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s.

Once again this year, President Bill Destler and Rebecca Johnson have issued a challenge: They will match all student gifts up to $50 per person, $15,000 total.

Since the beginning, the number of ROAR Day donors has more than doubled, from 436 in 2006 to 1,054 last year, says Marisa Psaila, executive director of the Fund for RIT. Students represented 68 percent of donors last year and more than $50,000 was raised from all participants. Over its history, ROAR Day has raised more than $175,000.

“Our goal this year is to bring in 1,160 donors,” Psaila says. “We’ll be tracking progress throughout the day on the event giving page”