From the President
Meeting Needs of Community Requires Commitment From All
Editor's note: President Alastair Summerlee invites comments on his column at email@example.com.
The start of the school year is synonymous with many things for me, ranging from new students on campus to new challenges and opportunities. But among my favourite fall-semester associations is the University's annual United Way campaign.
I look forward to it every year, right down to selling hot dogs and flipping pancakes. For I am never prouder of this university than when I see people uniting together for a common goal, a greater good. For me, it demonstrates in a tangible way the community spirit and caring of U of G employees and students.
Indeed, I am always amazed by how our community comes together to support United Way fundraising activities. Every year we push our target a little bit higher, and each year we surpass it. Last year, students, faculty and staff raised a staggering $441,000, exceeding the University's campaign goal by more than $41,000.
This year, we plan to push the bar higher than ever setting our most aggressive fundraising target to date. I hope you will attend the campaign kick-off barbecue Sept. 25 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Branion Plaza as we once again unite to change lives and improve life.
This year, I'm wearing two United Way hats promoting the University's campaign and chairing the wider campaign for Guelph and Wellington County.
The U of G community plays a vital role in the regional United Way campaign. Our success is pivotal because we are a major employer in this area. We raised the biggest share of the $2.6 million that the regional campaign brought in last year.
You should know that your contributions have a direct impact on people in our community. The United Way works with more than 40 local agencies to provide help where it's needed. All of the programs provided by these agencies strengthen our region and make its members healthier and safer.
It can be hard to fathom at times, but every year, more than 60,000 people in our community use a variety of social, health and economic services supported by the United Way. It's a sad fact that seven per cent of children in Guelph-Wellington live below the poverty line. And the situation is likely to get worse. With the recent economic downturn, particularly in the manufacturing sector, there will be more people in financial difficulty.
Meeting the needs in our community requires a commitment from all of us: students, faculty, staff and alumni. It's a challenge, I admit, but luckily we have a culture of giving on this campus, recognizing our responsibilities in helping our friends, colleagues and community members who are in need.
As we look to raise more money than ever on campus and regionally to raise $2.6 million I know it sounds like a lot. But when we work together, we can accomplish amazing things.
As always, the backbone of our fundraising campaign will be the many volunteer canvassers who will be distributing pledge forms across campus and overseeing the numerous events and activities.
I'm asking everyone on this campus to get involved. Give generously through payroll deduction, donate items to a raffle or take part in the many fundraising activities that will be the foundation of this year's campaign.
Remember, there are many underprivileged individuals and families in our city who must turn to resources and agencies that are supported by the United Way. You are helping to fund programs such as food banks, emergency shelters and counselling services that assist people our neighbours who are facing difficult times.
This annual campaign is a reminder to each of us that we can make a difference and help strengthen our community