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UC Davis' We Are Aggie Pride celebrates first international Student Engagement and Philanthropy Day

February 26, 2013

Group of students in two rows with We Are Aggie Pride! T-shirts

(From left top) Christine Kim, Nav Chima, Asha Fereydouni, Amanda Price, Chelsea Dass, Channie Phantharath, Tara Storm, and Rylan Schaeffer are part of We Are Aggie Pride! (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis photo)

When Christine Kim’s family lost its home in Roseville due to financial hardship, the UC Davis senior spent the weekend packing up her childhood belongings — and then took off for a UC Davis basketball game on campus where she volunteered for We are Aggie Pride, a student-run group that raises money to provide emergency funding for UC Davis students who are in need just like her.

“My parents might be struggling, I might be struggling, but we always give back and help others,” said Kim, one of the co-founders of We Are Aggie Pride. “Everyone needs help at some point or another during their college career and as long as I am able to, I’m happy to give back to others.”

Kim is just one of hundreds of UC Davis students who have donated their time and resources to We Are Aggie Pride — the first such student-to-student emergency funding organization on the West Coast. In fact, We Are Aggie Pride is part of a growing, international trend of young philanthropists who are helping their fellow students in need.

To celebrate this new global trend in philanthropy, the student arm of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) — one of the world’s largest nonprofit educational associations for advancement professionals — has organized an international Student Engagement and Philanthropy Day on Feb. 28. In all, more than 100 educational institutions worldwide will be participating in the event that is focused on educating students about the importance of giving back to support the schools and universities they attend. They include three University of California campuses and institutions from Australia, the United Kingdom, South Africa, Singapore and Mexico.

As part of this celebration, We Are Aggie Pride on Feb. 23 began hosting a weeklong series of campus events, including a “Swipes for Students” event where students will be encouraged, at various locations across campus, to donate funds to We Are Aggie Pride as part of their mission to help fellow students in need. The entire list of events is available online.

Formed in 2011, the We Are Aggie Pride, Students Helping Students fund provides emergency money to students to cover food, rent and other essential costs not covered by other programs, and to give a temporary boost to those who are trying to make it on their own. All awards are given to program applicants based on the level of need rather than academic achievement. To date, the group has raised more than $58,000 in donations and sponsorships, thanks in part to the generous support of UC Davis West Village — the largest planned zero net energy community in the United States. The fund has given more than $20,000 to students.

The money has been critical to helping dozens of UC Davis students, such as international studies major and sophomore Victor Gutierrez Cuellar. Cuellar, who is unable to gain employment or qualify for federal loans because of his immigration status, was threatened with having to drop out of school because of financial hardships.

“So many things would have been radically different if I hadn’t gotten the aid from We Are Aggie Pride,” said Cuellar, who volunteers his time at UC Davis Extension and has ambitions of attending law school. “I would have been completely disheartened if I had to take an entire quarter off of school. I love going to UC Davis and I had just finished my first year having determined what I want to do with my life. If I had had to drop out of school then it would have been completely devastating. I wouldn’t have been able to get a job or do anything with my life.”

Jane Eadie, adviser for We Are Aggie Pride and Cal Aggie Alumni Association director of programs, is proud UC Davis can be part of this international movement that is encouraging a new generation of philanthropists.

“Public service is an important part of our campus culture. And giving back to the university is one of our Aggie traditions, it's part of what it means to be an Aggie,” Eadie said. “Student Engagement and Philanthropy Day provides a great opportunity for We Are Aggie Pride to both raise money to help students in need, and to mark this national recognition of giving back.”

We Are Aggie Pride is one of several philanthropic programs on campus, including the Associated Students of UC Davis scholarship program and The Pantry, an on-campus food closet. All monies raised through these student-led and inspired philanthropic efforts count towards The Campaign for UC Davis — the university’s first comprehensive fundraising campaign that seeks to raise $1 billion from 100,000 donors by 2014.

More information about We Are Aggie Pride is available here. To donate to the fund, please visit this website.

About the Council For Advancement and Support of Education

The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) is an international professional association serving educational institutions and the advancement professionals who work on their behalf in alumni relations, communications, development, marketing and allied areas. CASE helps its members build stronger relationships with their alumni and donors, raise funds for campus projects, produce recruitment materials, market their institutions to prospective students, diversify the profession, and foster public support of education.

One of the world's largest nonprofit educational associations, CASE has more than 3,600 member institutions and organizations in 76 countries.

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