By Megan Martin
In the TV series 24, the ever-resourceful (and perpetually sleep-deprived) Jack Bauer experienced a truly terrible day once every year, a day during which he would be confronted with a deadly series of threats against the country he was sworn to protect.
On March 16, during #McGill24, the plan is for McGill graduates and supporters around the world to take action in far less harrowing circumstances.
For the first time ever, McGill is going to be hosting a one-day global fundraising challenge. The concept of a giving day has been popularized by Ivy League institutions in the U.S., but Canadian universities have been slower to adopt the idea, making McGill among the first in the country to undertake this type of 24-hour campaign.
“I think it’s going to be a testament to people’s experience at McGill,” says Vice-Principal (University Advancement) Marc Weinstein, BA’85, BCL’91, LLB’91. “McGillians – whether they’re current students, alumni, employees, volunteers, or friends of the University – have a lot to be proud of. McGill is a game changer for so many people around the world. The pride is there, and this day is going to be a reflection of who we are as individuals and as a cohesive network.”
The one-day campaign will be executed mostly online, but #McGill24 events will also be taking place on our downtown and Macdonald campuses and through alumni branch events in cities such as Calgary, Dubai, London, New York and Toronto. Through a custom-built #McGill24 website, donors will be able to choose to support everything from research projects with international ambitions, to student-run crowdfunding projects. Alumni will also have the option to direct their support to specific initiatives anchored in McGill’s faculties.
The site showcases 16 McGillians who have benefited from philanthropic support in very different ways, among them psychology student Victoria Mallett.
“McGill has enabled me to cover so many bases all at once,” says Mallet, a product manager at ANANDA, a startup that won in the Innovation Driven Enterprise category of McGill’s Dobson Cup in 2014. ANANDA focuses on using nanotechnology – what it describes as its “lab-on-a-chip technology” – to help speed up the development process for new diagnostics and therapeutics. As ANANDA has progressed, Mallett says the Dobson Centre – McGill’s supportive start-up ecosystem – has been there every step of the way with business plan assistance, IT advice, funding, mentorship and more.
#McGill24 organizers hope that stories like Mallett’s will inspire alumni and supporters –particularly recent graduates.
“We want our alumni, and especially our young alumni, to be involved in the McGill community and find value in that connection,” Weinstein says. “I think everyone is ready for a 24-hour challenge like this.”
The whole notion of launching a one-day campaign was developed with young alumni in mind.
“This is the first time we’re really going online for a fundraising campaign,” said Melissa Forster, #McGill24 project manager. “We’re trying to meet recent grads on their level and communicate with them in a new way.”
“Putting it all into 24 hours provides a major focus and anchors our efforts into a condensed period of time,” Weinstein says. “People today want things instantaneously, so planning this event in a one-day cycle was the way to go.”
McGillians can expect to see a flurry of #McGill24 news, inspirational stories, videos and photos across multiple platforms in the lead up to March 16. Alumni and friends are encouraged to join the online conversation by sharing their own McGill experiences and engaging with the alumni community through social media.
“My hope is that on this one day, everyone will take a moment to acknowledge what McGill meant or means to them,” Weinstein says. “Hearing people’s stories about how they feel connected to McGill is just as valuable as the money we’re going to bring in; I’m incredibly excited about this platform and I know we’re going to show the world how connected the McGill community truly is.”
Watch William Shatner’s personal message in support of #McGill24 by clicking on the thumbnail below