Mark Schatzman, '17, shows off the spirit gloves the class officers sold last November to promote Lehigh-Lafayette spirit week on Monday, Nov. 14, 2016. Last semester the Lehigh Fund discontinued the class officers program, which aimed to solicit donations from Lehigh students. (Kate Morrell/B&W Staff)

Lehigh-Lafayette Giving Challenge discontinued after 6 years

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This year marked the end of the Lehigh-Lafayette Giving Challenge, a six-year tradition that raised donations for both schools.

Each year, the challenge took place during Spirit Week before the Lehigh-Lafayette rivalry game. The two schools would attempt to get the most donations from its students and alumni. Lehigh won two of the six challenges.

This year, both Lehigh and Lafayette have decided to discontinue the challenge. Meghan Morici, Lafayette’s director of the annual fund, said Lehigh suggested moving away from the challenge to experiment with other philanthropy options. Lafayette agreed with this decision.

“I think that Lehigh realized that there are other ways to promote philanthropy and that students are willing to give to Lehigh,” said Kayla Jang, ’17, the president of the Association of Student Alumni.

Although the challenge has been discontinued, the idea still lives on among members of the Lehigh and Lafayette communities. In previous years, ASA sold hats and scarves for the challenge at various locations around campus. This year the organization is selling gloves.

“We haven’t gotten rid of the aspect of selling something in order to promote student philanthropy,” Jang said. “It’s just that we are not doing it against Lafayette anymore.”

Caitlin Saunders, the associate director of student philanthropy, said the goal is to sell a total of 1,200 pairs of gloves to the Lehigh student body. ASA is selling each pair of gloves for $15, and $9.50 of the sale will be donated to a club or organization of the customer’s choice.

“(The gloves are) a gift back to Lehigh,” Saunders said. “(They) can support a club, an organization, a Greek chapter, a sport or academic department of their choice.”

Jang said Lehigh has been successful in achieving its sales goals in the past. During last year’s hat sale, ASA was able to sell its entire inventory of hats.

As of Monday, the sale goal for the gloves was not yet reached. Saunders said individuals at the Lehigh Fund remain optimistic because sales will last throughout the week.

Gloves can be purchased at Rathbone, the UC and Taylor Gym until Friday.

Lafayette students have implemented “Make Lafayette Roar Again,” within its own community. Lafayette aims to have 1,000 people donate to the program to “bring the roar back.” Lafayette’s challenge will last throughout the week. 

“I can speak for (Lafayette), but I think that both schools would like to think about revitalizing the challenge, but just not this year” said Kimberly Spang, Lafayette’s vice president of development and college relations.

Spang and Morici said they are hopeful the challenge will return in the future.

“Without the head-to-head competition, we do expect a slight dip (in donations),” Morici said. “But right now we are off to a good start.”

Jang said she is uncertain if the challenge will return to Lehigh, and that it ultimately comes down to what the faculty believes is best for the donation funds.

This week, Lehigh is looking into better opportunities to help promote philanthropy among students. Spang said Lafayette also wants to refurbish its philanthropy events. 

Jang said having everyone wear the same gloves is a great way to promote unity and spirit among the student body.

“We try to promote school spirit, and get the students involved in the big games like Lehigh-Lafayette,” Jang said. “It really helps students on campus promote a strong unified community.”

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