HighlanderThon invited students to participate in a surprise fundraising festival known among the student body as FTK Day on March 11. The goal of FTK Day was to reach 500 donations.
Set in the Campus Center and outside by the green, HighlanderThon had several tables arranged for students to approach and ask questions about the event. Inside the campus center, students could take selfies of themselves with the giant HighlanderThon balloon and stuffed bear, as well as look at the donations coming in live through the website.
HighlanderThon and students enjoyed the 60-degree weather as they focused on their premier attraction: pie throwing. Outside of the Campus Center, participants could pay a dollar to throw a pie at HighlanderThon staff, or 5 dollars to step right up and smear pie all over the face of a lucky staff member.
With loud music and a great number of posters, the pie throwing was hard to miss. Hundreds of students passed by and threw pies, contributing hundreds of dollars to the Childrens’ Miracle Network. Eventually, surprise pie victims presented themselves: Alpha Jalloh and Jake Campbell, Student Senate President and Vice-President respectively.
“As much as I saw HighlanderThon being advertised, I never really participated until the day of the ‘pie-ing’ but I’m very glad I did. It was great to see the enthusiasm of the volunteers and students willingness to help out such a great cause. Even though it’s the first year it’s running it’s incredible to see how well it’s being run and how it’s making a big impact on the NJIT community and especially the kids that we’re all doing this for,” said Jake Campbell.
HighlanderThon is NJIT’s Thon committee, which is responsible for the dance marathons on college campuses across the country. Penn State’s Thon, which took place on February 22, lasted for 46 hours and raised over 13 million dollars to fight pediatric cancer. All raised money goes towards supporting children in need, owing to their motto: For the Kids!
The group carefully planned the event a month before FTK day. On the week of the event, HighlanderThon strategically placed posters with nothing but the number 500 and the date of FTK day. The mystery surrounding the posters was intentional.
“We wanted to go viral, to get the NJIT community involved and asking questions the day of,” said Miraj Patel, the Public Relations Chair of the group.
On FTK day all members changed their profile picture on various social media to FTK signs in a marketing strategy that swept the campus. Several student organizations shared the FTK day information through social media and hundreds of students changed their profile pictures.
Towards the end of the day, Reslife participated in the fundraising efforts at all the dorms. All of the resident assistants volunteered to be pied by their residents in an extension of the event outside of the campus center.
At the end of the event, HighlanderThon was able to raise over 1500 dollars for the Children’s Miracle Network with 391 donations, owing its success to the enthusiasm of the student body.
“We are extremely proud of our campus and community for coming together on FTK Day to raise 1554.34 in just one day to improve the lives of children and families at Children’s Specialized Hospital. It’s just incredible! I absolutely can’t wait for HighlanderThon in April. What I look forward to most is celebrating our year-long efforts with everyone. It’s going to be so much fun!” said Miraj.
All of the festivities are in preparation and promotion for the big event, the 18 hour dance marathon which will take place on April 17. Students interested in participating in the dance marathon need to meet the 62 dollar minimum to fundraise. For more information, please visit: www.highlanderthon.com to get involved For The Kids!