While early mornings are routine for members of Texas Crew, last Wednesday the rowing team met on campus at 5:45 a.m. with one goal in mind: find the Bevo stuffed animals.
“We organized for everyone to meet up at Gregory Gym to go around and search,” said Payton Brown, Texas Crew fundraising co-chair. “We found two of (the stuffed Bevos) right at the start and then we tried to get the one at the Jester bike rack but we couldn’t find it.”
This challenge was one of many ways to raise money as part of the sixth annual 40 Hours for the Forty Acres fundraiser. After 40 hours,
different organizations and colleges across campus raised over $4.5 million through more than 9,000 donations, said Kellie Sullivan, UT’s assistant director of special programs.
“We’re really trying to make sure students have an avenue to fundraise and to talk about what they’re doing,” Sullivan said. “There’s so many unique and amazing things that are that are happening, and the experiences that the students are having during their time here outside of the classroom, to me, are just as important as the ones inside the classroom.”
Sullivan said through different challenges, organizations competed to have the University give a specific amount of money or match donations.
“One of the things we’re really proud of is hiding the stuffed animals for people to find the first morning,” Sullivan said. “We just thought it would be cool if people could go out on campus and find something fun that would tell them what was happening and then they would get to choose an area of campus to send money to.”
Between its 68 members, Texas Crew raised over $32,000 and topped the leaderboard for most gifts. Michael Dileo, Texas Crew fundraising co-chair, said the team plans out their fundraising strategies a year in advance.
“40 for Forty is our biggest fund-raiser that we do,” biology sophomore Dileo said. “The money we get through RecSports and through team dues ... isn’t enough for everything that we need. So fundraising is pretty crucial.”
Dileo said they targeted specific challenges to raise the most unique gifts and the most money in a certain amount of time.
“We’re not McCombs and we can’t raise like half a million dollars,” Dileo said. “The challenges that are unique gifts, it’s lot easier for us to organize our alumni and parents to contribute towards that than trying to compete with some of the larger organizations.”
Brown, a biomedical engineering freshman, said Texas Crew is dedicated to raising money and competing in 40 for Forty because it helps them grow their program.
“This money and fundraising is kind of what drives Texas Crew,” Brown said. “This money is what we used to travel and to buy stuff to kind of stay afloat, so everyone understands how important this is for us. Everyone’s much more willing to go that extra mile.”