By: J.D. Ross
(315) 443-3094

The It Girls Overnight Retreat, selected last month as one of the first initiatives on Syracuse University’s new crowdfunding site ‘CuseFunder, received over $10,000 in support during its month-long run on the site. The campaign wrapped up on July 11, with 54 backers providing $10,125 in donations – double the program’s original goal of $5000.

The retreat brings young high school women to campus from seven states and more than 50 high schools to enjoy a weekend experience at the School of Information Studies (iSchool), exposing them to information and computing career opportunities and the potential of iSchool and SU college enrollment.

Since 2011, the event has welcomed about 250 high school women to the iSchool. At the Retreat, participants have a chance to connect with barrier-breaking role models and make new friends as they explore the world of information technology in a collaborative, hands-on, and supportive environment.

“The overwhelming response from the iSchool’s alumni, parents, faculty and friends through the school’s crowdfunding efforts during the past year has been very exciting,” said Scott Barrett, assistant dean for development at the iSchool. “Crowdfunding appears to create a powerful intersection of highly engaging iSchool programs, the ability for technology to show and tell compelling student-centric stories and providing enthusiastic alumni and friends a comfortable and easy-to-use vehicle to voice their support. ”

The ‘CuseFunder appearance was the second time the iSchool has used a crowdfunding platform to raise funds for the It Girls initiative. In the fall of 2013, the initiative was one of five campaigns on the iSchool’s Fuel Crowdfunding Challenge – the first philanthropic crowdfunding initiative at Syracuse University.

“We very much look forward to further leveraging technology to build continued philanthropic successes for the iSchool in the years ahead,” noted Barrett.

“This is a great program that looks to solve a problem that I face on a day to day basis – that being the lack of diversity in the technology sector,” said Joseph Kanakaraj, a 2000 graduate of the iSchool. “This is a great opportunity for these girls to be exposed to technology and see the tremendous opportunity available to them if they wish to pursue it.  It makes me very proud to see my alma mater have an event like this and I wish there was more I could do than just send money!”