By: Diane Stirling
(315) 443-8975

Just a few days remain in the first-ever crowdfunding initiative undertaken among the students, staff, faculty, alumni, and other friends of the School of Information Studies (iSchool) in support of five innovative student programs.

The “Fuel the Future” campaign began October 1, and concludes at 11:59 PM this Sunday, November 30.

Supporters can participate in the online campaign here

“This initiative is all about the iSchool providing opportunities for friends of the school to fuel innovation, opportunities, dreams, and the future for students,” said Dean Elizabeth D. Liddy.

The initiative is assisting students who are enrolled in the iSchool, but also includes those from other schools at Syracuse University and even other nearby colleges who gravitate to the iSchool’s innovative programs and entrepreneurial offerings. Dean Liddy pointed out, “We are equal opportunity supporters of students from all schools who want to participate in the many cool programs we offer.”

Kickstarter-Type Fundraising

The fundraising effort, a first of its type for the iSchool, has been conducted in Kickstarter-like fashion, with the iSchool developing a proprietary website to conduct the campaign online. The website and promotional effort was produced entirely in-house, with students, alumni and staff working on all elements of the project. Participants and supporters have been able to watch the progress of contributions in real-time as they come in to the online effort.

Added $5,000 Challenge

In a unique way for programs to earn additional dollars beyond direct contributions, iSchool alumnus Sam Clarvit ‘10, has provided a leadership contribution of $5,000 to serve as a challenge gift.

Each contribution made to the programs counts as a vote for that “add-on” funding. Based on the total number of gifts each of the five funds receives by the end of the campaign period, those programs can earn extra cash. From the $5,000 in extra funds, the program with the greatest number of donations will get an additional $3,000 in challenge funding. The second place program will earn $1,500, and the third place program will earn $500 from Clarvit’s contribution.

Five Student Programs

iSchool programs that provide direct benefit and real-world experiences to students being funded by the effort are:

It Girls Overnight Retreat, a weekend iSchool experience bringing young women from 52 high schools across several states (in 2013) to campus to enjoy the iSchool experience, expose them to information and computing career opportunities, and present the potential in iSchool and SU college enrollment;

New Librarianship, a way to fund professional development opportunities for library science master’s students. This fund helps them attend workshops and conferences that allow them to become involved in the field and in “libraries of the future” conversations;

Student Immersion, a program helping deserving students, who might not otherwise be able to afford it, to experience any of nine immersion experiences, from entrepreneurship company trips to IT-field discovery trips abroad;

Student Sandbox, the iSchool-hosted entrepreneurship experiential learning program in which students produce revenue-generating entities and investment-ready new firms;

Students of Promise, the program that helps students with critical financial resources when their beyond-the-norm circumstances or family emergencies might otherwise force them to leave school.