Sweet Briar College’s Annual Fund hosted its second Community Philanthropy Week March 2 through 6. The timing of the fundraising campaign corresponds with the point in the spring semester where tuition dollars are exhausted and the College must rely on gifts from alumnae, parents, faculty and staff and friends of Sweet Briar.
This year’s theme was “Philanthropy is. . .” and the week-long series of events was a part of the overall Annual Fund “Step Up!” campaign. The goal was to promote an understanding of philanthropy and its importance as an integral part of a liberal arts education.
The week kicked off Monday, March 2 with Movie Night and Late-night Breakfast in Josey Dining Room featuring breakfast and a classic Audrey Hepburn movie. The event was sponsored by the Alumnae Association Board and included crepes and faux mimosas.
On Tuesday, March 3, faculty, staff and students volunteered for a work day at the Sweet Briar Campus School. The effort was co-sponsored by Sweet Spirits, a community service organization that works out of the chaplain’s office. Two shifts – one in the morning and one in the afternoon – worked on a painted mural and a sustainable green teepee at the school’s playground.
SWEBOP instructors took the lead on the teepee project, assisted by German professor Ron Horwege, SWEBOP director Laura Staman and grounds superintendent Donna Meeks. The bamboo and grapevines used for the project were harvested from the Sweet Briar campus.
Margaret Ann White, a teacher at the campus school, said when the kids first saw the teepee, one boy exclaimed, “Oh cool! They built us a jail!”
The mural, a brightly colored painting of a girl climbing a white picket fence surrounded by sunflowers, was designed by studio art major Ashley Winters ’11. Winters, who hails from Richmond, plans to be an art teacher after earning her Master of Arts in Teaching from Sweet Briar.
Missy Witherow, who works in development and helped organize Community Philanthropy Week, said she had e-mailed studio art professor Laura Pharis about getting a student to design the mural. Pharis immediately recommended Winters as the woman for the job.
Winters designed and painted the mural with the help of the Sweet Spirits. While she was painting, Winters said, the campus school students asked her questions like, “Why are you painting that green?” “Why is that blue?” and gushed, “I like your painting. It’s beautiful.”
At a ceremony dedicating the mural on Friday, March 6, the students presented Winters with a thank-you gift – a Sweet Briar sweatshirt and a photograph of the preschool and kindergarten classes standing in front of the mural, signed with notes of thanks.
On Wednesday, March 4, community members and visitors to campus were invited to “Follow the Footprints of Philanthropy” by taking a campus tour with signs explaining how the gifts and efforts of donors make Sweet Briar viable.
That evening, a philanthropy and non-profit career panel was held in Josey Dining Room, co-sponsored by the Student Relations Committee. Guests – alumnae joined by professionals in education and community service – included Chasity Clarke Miller ’04, Teresa Pike Tomlinson ’87, Melissa Zadell, Bob Dendy Jr., Heidi McCrory, Kim Shrader ’09, James Barton, Cathy Hurley-Foose ’78 and Fran McClung Ferguson ’80.
On Thursday, March 5, runners and walkers from the Sweet Briar community converged on the Quad for the Annual Fund Run. The event was co-sponsored by the Student Athlete Advisory Committee.
Teams dressed up in costumes and ran or walked a long course – up to Monument Hill and back – or a short course to and from the traffic circle by the train station. Prizes were given for the most money raised, best team uniform, best team name and fastest finishers.
“The Marching Penguins,” the Annual Fund’s team, raised the most money at $128. Honorable mentions for most money raised went to “Physical Plant Pervaders,” “Prothro Girlie Girls” and “Media Moguls.” Each team raised more than $90.
The “Protho Girlie Girls” with their shocking pink, frou-frou attire won best team uniform and “We Walk on Water,” made up of members of the College’s swim team, won best team name. An honorable mention for best team name went to the “Mean Mean Dean Green Team,” who wore pink and green T-shirts with a picture of Dean Jonathan Green on the front.
Sissy Winstead ’12 and Scott Tucker from physical plant were fastest runners on the short and long course respectively.
The week’s events concluded Friday, March 6 with senior staff serving lunch in Prothro. Those on hand to flip burgers and serve food to the masses included Sweet Briar President Betsy Muhlenfeld; Dean Jonathon Green; vice presidents Paul Davies, Heidi McCrory and Linda Shank; dean of admissions Ken Huus; Alumnae Affairs director Louise Zingaro; and Cheryl Steele, dean of co-curricular life.
Also on Friday, Kathryn Brock ’09 won the sexy shoe contest, Martha Schley Kemp ’12 wrote the best ending to “Philanthropy is…”, and the grand prize drawing winner – who received one night at the Craddock Terry Hotel and dinner for two at Waterstone Pizza – was Lauren Babineau ’12.