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Student group solicits peers for USF donations

In spite of the climbing costs of tuition and fees, a newstudent organization is looking to USF students as a source of philanthropic revenue.

Bull Raisers, an officialstudent organization createdby the USF Foundation’s Office of Annual Giving, was createdthis semester to solicitdonations from other studentsto fund everything fromfinancial aid programs to Student Government (SG) events. Starting today, the president and vice president of the organization, as well as Victor Teschel, assistant director of Development for Students and Young Alumni at the USF Foundation, will be interviewing candidates to become Bull Raisersvolunteers.

Teschel said that even though students may not have the best financial assets, they are the best group to seek donations from.

“Why are we askingstudents to give money to the University when these are the brokest people on the planet, besides homeless people?” he said. “Stats upon stats have shown us – and doingsurveys with other schools – that if started early … aperson is more likely to give, over time, more money,”

The USF Foundation has raised more than $530 million in donations for the University during the past two years, but Bull Raisers President Kelly Torres, a senior majoringin international studies and a paid intern in the Office of Annual Giving, said theorganization is not interestedin the amount donated from each student as much ascultivating the practice.

Bull Raisers Vice President Matthew Kelsey, a senior majoring in biomedicalsciences and marketing, said the amounts the group will collect from individualstudents will eventuallyadd up.

“It’s targeting students specifically because that is one area that is definitelyuntapped,” he said. “We have all these other sourcesdonating to things on campus, but even if a student donates $1 and they become a Bull Raiser, they don’t know, but … all those one dollars, they add up.”

Torres said the group will decide where their collectionsgo based on surveys they will conduct with students to gauge their priorities. They have also committed tohelping campus organizationssuch as the Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement, Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life and SG to raise money for studentoperating funds, scholarships and campaigns.

Torres said she hopes the organization will eventuallyexpand beyond the 15 spots being interviewed for this week and give students more access to directing the money.

“In the future, we wantanyone who donates money to the Bull Raisers (to)automatically become a Bull Raiser,” she said.

Though they have yet to collect any money, the Bull Raisers have partnered with SG to incorporate afundraising element in the Mr. and Miss USF Pageant in April.

Pageant contestants will ask as many of their friends as possible to donate to the “Don’t Stop, Don’t Drop”campaign – a campaign that collects money to fund tuition and living expenses forstudents who have exhausted all financial aid – and the amount of money that each contestant raises will be one of the factors considered in selecting a winner.

The Bull Raisers also hope to begin peer-to-peersolicitation during thesemester to create a dominoeffect of friends andclassmates donating to the University.

In return for theircontributions, students likely will receive small promotional items, such as stickers, pens or shirts, with a Bull Raiser logo as tokens of appreciation, Torres said.