More than $1.5 million in donations were raised as WMU's Alumni Association held the third ever Giving Day.
The single-day giving event saw donors from 46 states as well as abroad come together to exceed last year's benchmark by 391% according to a statement released by the university. More than 2,190 donors participated in the Giving Day, and funds were directed to 330 of the university's 2,000 individual funds.
"Giving is just the tool. It's the impact that we care about," said Vice President for University Advancement Kristen DeVries. "Giving magnifies our ability to transform the lives of our students so they can transform the communities where they live, all around the globe."
Different departments and offices worked to raise money for the university. According to the statement, challenges were made in the name of friendly inter-college and inter-departmental competitions. and the winners of the challenges were able to put the funds they raised back into their individual funds for things like scholarships or technological advances.
President Edward Montgomery allocated $50,000 dollars among the various funds to encourage competition. These funds were pulled from an existing pool of money that exists in a donor-designated unrestricted endowment. Paula Davis, the university's communication director, said that the funds were specifically set aside " to be used in ways to propel the University forward."
WMU's funding has experienced a hit with the ongoing decline in enrollment. To combat this, the Board of Trustees approved a tuition increase over the summer. The university also approved a sale of a parcel of the Business Technology Resource Park 2 for around $500,000. Speaking on the decrease in tuition funding at the most recent board meeting, Chair James Bolger said:
"The numbers are not what we had hoped for, but they are close to budgetary expectations."
The tuition increase and the university's budget were finalized when the State of Michigan approved it's statewide budget on Sept. 30. The budget included a 1% increase in state report along with the 4.3% increase in tuition. Following the budget approval, the Office of the President at WMU sent an email to university employees reading:
"These modest revenue increases for campus were more than offset by a nearly 5% drop in enrollment over 2018. The net result has been to place the campus in the difficult position to have to manage an $11 million budget reduction."
The email then went on to reaffirm the university's commitment to its staff.
Despite the decline in enrollment, the university is currently undergoing massive renovations with the intention of drawing new students to the campus along with creating a more modern atmosphere. President Montgomery addressed this goal in his 2018 State of the University address.
“If we want to succeed in a changing environment then we need to be able to make targeted investments," he said.
Last year the university held a series of "Think Big" town halls to generate ideas to address the issue of declining enrollment as well as plan for the university's future. The university will be holding additional town halls late this month, with the first occurring on Monday Oct. 14 at 3 p.m.