Campus and Community

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Strengthening the DOG Pack

Community partners join forces with UWSP to make Day of Giving a howling success

Jeanne Nagle | Campus and Community | May 25, 2021

Consider it one Stevens Point institution helping another in the most delicious way possible.

On May 4, the featured flurry at Belts’ Original Soft Serve was its cookie dough and hot fudge brownie concoction nicknamed “The Pointer.” The timing of the promotion was designed to coincide with the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point’s Day of Giving fundraiser—a full 24 hours dedicated to securing gifts toward student scholarships at the university.

In addition to the daily flurry, Belts’ also promoted the event through prominent signage, point-of-sale marketing at the store’s service window and posts on its social media pages. Employees wore UWSP T-shirts, and general manager Cole Racine made a $250 gift on behalf of himself and the business.

“Considering the relationships we’ve built and developed over the years with UWSP, it was a natural for us to step up and help students,” says Racine.

Helping the university was indeed a good fit for the ice cream shop, which Racine says has increased its contributions to community organizations over the past year, since the advent of COVID-19. After all, the Pointer family accounts for a large portion of Belts’ customers, and many UWSP students have served as dedicated employees at the shop over the years.

Belts’ wasn’t the only local business taking steps to raise both funds and awareness during this year’s edition of the DOG. Emy J’s donated a portion of proceeds from sales of special Pointer-themed beverages—their three-bean Pointer Blend, sold drip and bagged, and the lavender-and-cheesecake flavored Purple and Gold Latte—that were added to their menu for the day.

“We have had a Pointer Blend for a few years now that our roaster created for events such as this,” says owner Hana Cutler. “We also bring it out around graduation.

“As soon as we were asked [to participate], we knew this was something we would love to be a part of. A lot of our employees and patrons are students at the university, and we like to support UWSP anyway we can.”

Sales of the specialty items on the Day of Giving were brisk. Emy J’s management boosted the bottom line of their donation by matching the total dollar for dollar.

Meanwhile, real-estate firm KPR Brokers elected to sponsor the Student Affairs Power Hour, matching all gifts received between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. up to $2,000. Happily, the goal was met in the allotted time frame, and the matching funds were released.

“At KPR, we’re all about advocating for our community,” says brokerage listing coordinator Nikki Burdick, “and what better way to do that than to support UWSP students.”

Burdick adds that the firm felt fortunate to be associated with the Student Affairs challenge since those fundraising efforts would support so many different areas of campus. As KPR broker/owner Mark Kitowski noted in a challenge video, the Student Affairs Fund benefits “the Campus Counseling Center, the Childcare Center, Diversity and College Access, the Dean of Students, Residential Living and more.”

A few KPR staffers, including Burdick and alumnus Kyle Bissen ’10, also accepted a challenge issued by the university when they posted photos of themselves dressed in Pointer purple and gold or otherwise representing UWSP on the firm’s Facebook page, accompanying the Power Hour video. Those still images were among more than 550 posted to social media with the hashtag #uwspgivesback as part of the DOG Selfie Challenge. UWSP Chancellor Thomas Gibson has pledged to donate $1 toward campuswide scholarships for every such selfie taken and posted on May 4.

Overall, the university’s community partners seem pleased about their participation this year, and indicate they would consider participating in future Day of Giving events.

“We hope to do this every year,” Cutler says. “It’s such a good cause, and an easy way to support UWSP.”

Burdick agrees. “It feels great to help and show support in our community.”

Taking a page from the DOG playbook, Racine says he would even consider, if possible, awarding individual scholarships to Belts’ student-employees in need of financial assistance. “Economic need shouldn’t disqualify someone from pursuing a post-secondary education,” he says.

The next Day of Giving is scheduled for May 3, 2022. To find out how to become a DOG community partner, contact University Advancement at (715) 346-3908 or uwsp.foundation@uwsp.edu.

 

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