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A culture of giving back

Posted 9:19 a.m. Monday, Dec. 4, 2023

One Day for UWL (Oct. 18-19) brought in more than $475,000 for an array of university causes. Through activities like the Cash Cab trivia game, the event also raised awareness of the importance of philanthropy.

One Day for UWL raises funds, awareness of philanthropy

UW-La Crosse’s fourth-annual giving day, One Day for UWL, brought in more than $475,000 from 1,900 donors in just 24 hours.  

The event was a success not just because it raised a record sum — but because it also raised awareness of the importance of philanthropy among the campus community.  

In addition to traditional donations, the UWL Alumni & Friends Foundation also organized challenges, which gave students the chance to win and then donate money to a UWL cause of their choosing.  

One example was the UWL Cash Cab, staffed by members of the Student Philanthropy Council. Inspired by the popular game show, this activity allowed students to answer UWL trivia questions and earn money for a variety of units on campus.  

“With the Cash Cab, we wanted a way for students to have an easy way to participate in One Day for UWL while they are still currently students,” says Hannah Kaiser, a junior majoring in biology and French, and a member of the Student Philanthropy Council. “One of my favorite parts about participating in Cash Cab was getting to interact and connect with all different types of students and seeing how much they knew about UWL.”

This year's One Day for UWL, at a glance.

Megan Muench, a junior studying exercise and sport science, participated in the Cash Grab game. Students entered a money-blowing booth and were challenged to grab as many bills as they could before time ran out. 

Muench, a member of the women’s ultimate frisbee team, allocated her $72 in winnings to the club. 

“I enjoyed that we could raise money for our team without relying solely on our family and friends to donate directly,” she says, noting that funds help cover the cost of gas, hotels and food, as well as tournament fees. “I love my team, but I can’t donate all of my money if I still want to eat and buy textbooks. I appreciate the donors who sponsored the Cash Grab and allowed us to support our club in an alternative way. It was empowering to be able to make a difference for our team!” 

Between Cash Cab and Cash Grab, students allocated nearly $1,500 for everything from Rec Sports to the Pride Center to the Radiation Therapy program.  

While the money was won and designated by students, it was originally contributed by donors such as Jenny Radcliffe.  

“Philanthropy, giving back in big and small ways using your treasure, as well as time and talent, is important for all of us,” says Radcliffe, ’03, a member of the UWL Alumni & Friends Foundation Board.   

Radcliffe believes that message is particularly relevant for students.  

“(Philanthropy) helps connect us to others and causes we are most passionate about, and doing so at a young age helps create those bonds and lifelong connections,” she says. “As a first-generation college student who was blessed to receive several scholarships, I’m glad I can now play a small part in helping others make the most of their education and time at UWL.”  

Of those who gave during One Day for UWL:  

  • 36% were parents/family members of students  
  • 32% were alumni  
  • 14% were employees 
  • 12% were friends 
  • 6% were students.  

By engaging them in events like One Day, UWL aims to inspire more students to consider giving back, however they can, and to continue doing so after graduation.  

“Philanthropy is an amazing way of supporting students and showing that they are cared for,” Muench says. “Sometimes, I feel like I’m alone in my experiences at school, but the contributions made by donors on Giving Day give me reassurance that they made it through the tough classes and the late nights and that I will be able to do the same, and one day I can give back just like they did for us.” 

The Cash Grab booth gave students another way to get involved with philanthropy.


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