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This year’s Big Orange Give—a five-day social-media-based giving campaign for UT—kicks off today and runs through Friday.  The goal is to build on the success seen last year.

BigOrangeGive_1colorLast year, 4,103 donors contributed more than $1 million to the Big Orange Give.

Money raised during the campaign increases funds available to students for scholarships. Last year, 93 percent of UT students received financial aid, including scholarships.

Caitlin Pinkard, a psychology and business major interested in business analytics, said she’s grateful for scholarships that help pay for her education.

Pinkard loves sports and wanted to combine her interest in business analytics with her love for football. She held an internship with the Cleveland Browns under Paul DePodesta, who was portrayed in the film Moneyball by Jonah Hill, and now she works as a statistician for the UT football team.

“It’s pretty fun to have Butch Jones reach out and ask me to find information about fourth-down transitions,” said Pinkard. “I watch videos and do research to give the coaches and team the information they need.

“I am so thankful that donors’ investments in students allow people like me to pursue my goals,” she said.

Students and faculty members feel the impact of the Big Orange Give every day in many ways. The project has supported several important initiatives:

  • Helped fund 16 projects on VOLstarter, the university’s crowdfunding website that benefits student travel, research and other opportunities
  • Raised $117,000 for new professorships, faculty support, and research
  • Raised more than $33,000 for band scholarships, which means each member of the Pride of the Southland Band receives $100 for each year of service to the band

“Last year, participants saw the impact they made even with a small contribution,” said Lauren Herbstritt, UT’s director of new media fundraising for annual giving.

“This year we again want to raise more than a million dollars. If Vol Nation can raise $500,000, then First Tennessee Foundation has committed another $500,000 to help us get to the $1 million goal. Not everyone can make an individual gift of that magnitude, but together our passionate alumni and donors can see the power of many gifts.”

For more information, visit the Big Orange Give website.

C O N T A C T :

Brooks Clark (865-974-5471,