Third annual Notre Dame Day raises records funds
Selena Ponio | Wednesday, April 27, 2016
For 29 hours and 18 minutes, Notre Dame fans tuned in Sunday and Monday to watch a live broadcast of student performances and show their support for student groups by flooding the website with their donations.
Aaron Wall, the director of Notre Dame Day, said this year’s number of monetary gifts from donors far surpassed that of last year’s. A total of 21,478 gifts were given this year compared to last year’s 16,550 gifts. In 2014, Notre Dame Day’s inaugural year, 4,400 gifts were received.
“It’s a year-long process, that’s my full time job. Next year starts now,” Wall said. “The whole idea of Notre Dame Day stems from the incredible student presence that we have on campus … and the reality when we started this a couple years ago was that all groups on campus are required to do fundraising and the reality is that it’s hard to do that.”
This year, Glee Club, Saint Edward’s Hall, the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Fund, Men’s Rowing and Financial Aid occupied the top five spots on the leaderboard. Glee Club held the No. 1 spot with over $33,000.
Wall, a Notre Dame alum, said he remembers how hard it was as a student to fundraise for dorms or other student groups. He said Notre Dame Day is a day that helps to make this process easier and helps students alleviate some of the financial burden that comes with running various organizations. He said Notre Dame Day helps donors get more “bang for their buck” by redistributing funds back into student groups.
“We’re not raising money for Notre Dame, we’re raising it for the students,” Wall said. “I’m always just surprised at some of the groups I did not know about before. Like the Military Veterans club that raises a scholarship for veterans to get MBA at Notre Dame.
“Ask yourself what you love the most and you can support it and use the million dollars that my team has raised ahead of time to multiply it.”
Wall said his decision to attend Notre Dame 16 years ago was a transformative experience that has motivated him to continue working for the University.
“What I believe the case is, is that … Notre Dame is not a perfect place, it never will be, it’s made up of flawed people and a flawed institution but that’s okay,” Wall said. “But there [are] so many good things about this place that people care so deeply about and that’s why people are generous. We do a good job as a family because there are so many good things for you to support.”
He said as an alum his main goal is to support the students here in any way possible.
“I know that transformative power of the University and I think as a community we have a great collective sense of that,” Wall said. “We can always do better and invest in our community so that it can continue to thrive and continue to be excellent.”
This year, Notre Dame Day raised money for 900 campus groups. These groups included all residence halls, athletic teams, student activities, Notre Dame alumni associations that give scholarships, academic departments and more. Last year over half of the $1 million went to student residence halls and organizations and Wall said he expects the same thing will happen this year after finalizing the numbers.
Wall said his favorite part of his job is meeting students. He addressed some of the confusion students have with Notre Dame Day, saying he can understand some of the confusion because when he was a student at Notre Dame, he never understood the fiscal reality of the University.
“The point being is that the number one thing I hear from students … is that we’re just raising more money for Notre Dame and the answer is simply that it isn’t true,” Wall said. “It is all about helping students and having the opportunity to raise money for what they care the most about.
“I support the College Republicans just as much as the College Democrats. I know you as a group of students are really passionate about your groups and we as the University have to do more and more to support you and this is the fiscal way to do it. This isn’t about raising money for anything but our students.”