A reader of this blog e-mailed me to provide encouragement as I make my way through the blogosphere with my first few posts . . .
He also mentioned that one of the topics I had listed in my original post — the College’s upcoming Initiative — remains a complete mystery to most students, and therefore the big bash dance and great food scheduled for this coming Saturday, is also a mystery.
Well it’s time, then, to de-mystify that event and invite all students, faculty, and staff to Nelson Recreation Center, this coming Saturday evening, October 6, beginning at 9 p.m. There will be a great spread of foods from around the world, and two bands: Freestyle, which will play from 9 p.m. to midnight, and then Orange Crush will play from midnight to 2:00 a.m. I understand Orange Crush is a popular band with students. I hope so.
The reason to celebrate is the launching of the College’s major fundraising initiative that will seek support for three major causes: 1) increasing financial aid to improve access to Middlebury; 2) adding faculty positions to ensure small classes and the ability of students to work closely with faculty members; and 3) strengthening our residential and co-curricular programs. We thought an all-campus dance with two bands known for great dancing music would be an excellent way to celebrate what will be, to date, the largest fundraising effort by a liberal arts college.
Fundraising campaigns typically follow the adoption of strategic plans and our Initiative is no different. The Trustees adopted our strategic plan last May, and we have been working hard to articulate our needs to potential donors and building the base for financial support. We are calling this endeavor an “initiative,” because, unlike a campaign, we believe these three areas will remain priorities beyond the traditional timeframe for a fundraising campaign (typically about five years). Thus, we view the coming years as foundational to building support for the vital areas of financial aid, faculty/academic support, and co-curricular programs.
As I mentioned in my introductory post to this blog, we will be inviting potential donors to campus over the course of the Initiative to see first hand the kind of education that takes place at Middlebury. This is somewhat new in fundraising, as it is more common to have the president and fundraisers out on the road most of the time, visiting with potential supporters and relaying to them information about Middlebury that would attract their support. We will still be out on the road meeting with many people, but we believe the best way to garner support for the College from many potential contributors is for them to see how our faculty teach, research, and engage students and what our students are accomplishing both inside and outside the classroom. My hope is that many students will be willing to share with potential supporters of the College who will be visiting campus the many interesting, challenging, and remarkable things they are doing at Middlebury.
But back to Saturday night. I hope many of you get to Nelson to dance to the sounds of Freestyle and Orange Crush and enjoy the great food prepared by our chefs here at the College.