Dulce Martinez
News Editor 

The annual Big Poet Give was held on March 30 this year and helped raise $254,922 for Whittier College students. The money raised during this event helps fund various programs on campus, such as athletic teams and college offices, as well as funding scholarships for students. 

Big Poet Give is organized by the Office of Development, currently located above the Career Center in upper campus, with the motive to highlight Whittier College and the programs that separate the College from other schools. 

“Throughout the year, we do fundraising through various channels — through mail, on the phone, in-person solicitations — where donors are given broad messages about very specific areas, such as the Whittier Fund or Athletics,” Director of Development, Loyalty Giving, Tania Mistry said. “Days like Big Poet Give really allow us to showcase all the programs that make Whittier great!” 

The Office of Development works year-round to put on Big Poet Give, as well as to fundraise for the school in different manners. The Office works with private donors to get an idea of where these donations would be best allocated. It comes down to what needs the most help, as well as what aspect of the college appeals to the donor’s interest. 

“We like to have every kind of initiative that someone would want to support. Anything from Athletics to student support to academic departments to various scholarships,” Associate Vice President of Development, Jessica Cobb said, “When you put those in front of people you begin to see patterns emerge and support for different areas. You realize where people’s passion lies or where their experience was special to them making them want to give back to those areas.” 

This event has been put on by the college for seven years and has continued with the trend of raising funds to give back to the student body. 19 groups participated in this year’s Big Poet Give with the top four groups donated to being Athletics, The Whittier Fund, Scholarships and student programs. While exact numbers will not be known until May, it is safe to say that a large quantity of money was raised. Organizations teamed up with the Office of Development to get involved in the Big Poet Give and this year took it upon themselves to promote their causes. Short Instagram videos and reposting flyers on social media helped get the word out about how donors would be helping students a part of these organizations. 

Last year’s Big Poet Give focused on the Student Emergency Fund and raising money to help students who were affected by the pandemic. $293,607 was raised in 2021 while $245,000 was raised in 2020, all used to help fund student success at Whittier College, even while being remote. Offices like the Wellness Center, Poet Pantry and Student Disability Services were also highlighted as they were the programs helping many students during the transition back to campus. The main cause that is always fundraised for is student scholarships. According to the Whittier College website, more than 85 percent of students receive some sort of financial aid in order to attend the school. Given that Whittier tries to make themselves affordable, compared to other universities, the need for scholarships is always present. 

“We know that the need for scholarships is prominent on campus. When we have conversations with donors, we are telling them that we know the needs on campus based on bigger institutional conversations and asking them for help in those areas,” said Cobb. 

Money is always being fundraised for through the connections between donors and alumni participation. The focus on events such as Big Poet Give creates a momentum for donors to keep giving to the College and for more places on campus to be helped. 

“It doesn’t stop here. We continue to work with donors far beyond days like Big Poet Give. Being properly informed as to what the needs are by partnering with people on campus and listening to our students helps start those conversations with donors about where those donations would be allocated,” said Mistry. 

To see specific numbers and groups who participated go to givingday.whittier.edu 

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