Jeans-themed employee fundraising campaigns have given a boost to two Ferris State University scholarships awarded by University College.
In the 2010-11 academic year, the “Jeans for Joan” campaign saw broad participation by University College faculty and staff who donated to the Joan Totten Scholarship and wore jeans on casual Friday as a symbol of support for the cause.
Totten served as department head of Developmental Programs and Curriculum until her retirement in 2008, at which time her family and colleagues created the scholarship to celebrate her service to students during her career.
The Jeans for Joan effort, organized by secretary to the FSUS program Pam Daniels, asked that each participant contribute $64. It raised nearly $1,200 for Totten’s scholarship, awarded to qualified students enrolled in programs through University College.
University College provides developmental programs such as Career Exploration, Directed Studies and General Studies for students seeking to improve their academic readiness or determine their career paths. These programs give students who do not meet the admission requirements of desired programs the opportunity to earn credits for eligibility and strengthen academic performance.
Following the Jeans for Joan campaign’s success, Daniels and organizers for 2011-12 created “Jeans for the Dean,” a similar fundraiser to benefit the scholarship of Associate Provost of Retention and Student Success William Potter, formerly the University College dean.
So far, the effort has raised nearly $2,000 for Potter’s scholarship, which likewise supports students in developmental programs. Campaign participants are asked to make a $100 donation each, which can be made via payroll deduction.
In return, donors receive a badge to reflect their participation – not to mention the sense of satisfaction that comes with helping a deserving student. The Potter and Totten scholarships are awarded to developmental program students who have demonstrated a commitment to academic success and have unmet financial needs.
In addition to academic challenges, many of the programs’ students face significant personal or economic hardship. These individuals include non-traditional students who are not eligible for other scholarships but display the potential to have a strong positive impact on the workforce and community once they have achieved their degrees, such as the three students now majoring in Social Work who recently benefited from Totten or Potter scholarships.
“The ‘jeans’ campaigns have helped us to realize Woodbridge Ferris’ vision for the institution,” says Potter. “He was willing to give people a chance, no matter their background, and then required and encouraged them to do well with that opportunity.”
It is not too late for members of faculty and staff to contribute to the Jeans for the Dean effort. Contact Pam Daniels at (231) 591-3716.