SOS looking for your support

The students are back, and they bring an important reminder: the Supporting Our Students (SOS) campaign is ongoing and is looking for faculty and staff support.

"They're back and they still need our help," says Wendy Herbers with a smile. "People on campus shouldn't be surprised that we're asking them for money."

Herbers, who works in the Faculty of Health Sciences and is a long-time SOS volunteer, has a tongue-in-cheek attitude that makes it easy for her to gain support from her colleagues.

That's not to say it's easy work to get everyone on board. Herbers, along with the rest of the SOS volunteers, donned blue t-shirts and moved through a crowded Atrium at last week's Welcome Back BBQ, promoting the campaign and encouraging faculty and staff to donate.

SOS has a strong history of support at the U of L. Since its inception in 2005, this internal annual fundraising campaign has raised close to $1.5 million for student awards, demonstrating that U of L faculty, staff and retirees are the first to stand behind our students.

Herbers explains that, for her, supporting student scholarships is also a way to personally support the institution that has given her so much.

"I've worked at the U of L for over 20 years, and I think that speaks for how happy I am to be here. I give back because, to me, that's part of being in a community."

When it comes to encouraging others to contribute, Herbers offers straightforward advice, "If you can afford it, support it. Students are the reason the rest of us are here and we have a responsibility to keep them here."

A total of 243 faculty and staff have already made a gift this year. The goal for the 2010 campaign is to reach 300 contributions, and volunteers are committed to reaching their target. In fact, Herbers is challenging all faculty and staff to take ownership and make a contribution.

"SOS is really about participation," she says. "Contributing to the campaign helps students, but it also creates a sense of community on this campus that we all benefit from."