Cornerstone Dollars at Work for Students

by Julie Fleming Juarez

Once again, the Cornerstone Funds are working for University of Saskatchewan students!

The Cornerstone programs empower students to raise funds for their own College. Established in the 1980s, graduating class fundraising has grown to encompass almost every college on Campus. The annual campaigns are organized by senior student volunteers. Fellow students are canvassed and asked to make a three-year pledge which they begin to fulfill one year after convocating, allowing recent graduates to give something back to their College.

One of the exciting things about the Cornerstone programs is that all money raised goes directly back to the graduates' own college and is used to support student-related projects. The money is controlled and distributed by students and recent alumni of the college, ensuring that proceeds are spent on programs which will benefit future students.

"The Cornerstone Fund in the College of Commerce has helped provide services otherwise unavailable to our students such as funding towards strategic recruitment efforts, a scanner for student presentations, and furniture for our new building," says Chris Froehlich, 1999 Cornerstone Co-Chair and Commerce Student Society president. "The fund helps to provide a quality education to all future students, while helping to retain the value of our degrees."

The Cornerstone programs have realized success over the years and this year is no exception. Fall solicitations by the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition resulted in an 89% participation rate with more than $18,000 pledged. Physical Therapy achieved a 90% participation rate and more than $3,300 in pledges. The College of Dentistry gave to the Dentistry Millennium Fund, a new college initiative, and saw a 30% participation rate in Cornerstone and $1,350 in pledges.

Some spring solicitations are still underway. This year the College of Medicine has decided to try something different. Students are being asked for their collective support -- each class year has been challenged by Dean Popkin to match his $500 gift. Students in the College of Nursing have been asked to make their pledges in memory of Eileen McLean, a staff member who for many years was extremely helpful to the students.

Agriculture & Voc Ags started with a kick off pub in February and are still going strong. The College of Commerce achieved a 45% participation rate and had $40,000 in pledges, and Engineering raised over $40,000 with pledges continuing to come in.

The benefits of the Cornerstone Fund campaign to U of S students are evident across campus.

* Funds from the College of Agriculture and the Diploma in Agriculture program continue to help build the Agriculture Endowment Fund which support teaching, research, extension and student activities in the College. Cornerstone funds will combine with corporate and alumni donations to complete the sixth floor of the Ag Building.

* The Arts & Science Cornerstone Fund helped to purchase new chairs for the Thorvaldson computer lab.

* College of Education Cornerstone funds have been used to update curriculum material and provide assistance in funding published course evaluations.

* The Engineering Advancement Trust has used past support for computer hardware and software upgrades, and has committed future funds to equipment upgrades for all disciplines.

* The College of Law has used Cornerstone funding to support student participation in moot court competitions, for student bursaries, scholarships and library acquisitions.

* The Nursing Cornerstone Fund has adopted two Canadian Nursing journals for the Health Science Library, and provided a cabinet to display student awards and academic achievements.

* College of Pharmacy and Nutrition projects include a textbook subsidy, a First Aid/CPR rebate for students, student newspaper, yearbook and assistance in an ongoing project to provide a drug information and evaluation course to all students.

* Physical Education funds go to the recently established undergraduate student scholarship/bursary program with the hope of eventually establishing an endowment fund to provide financial support to undergraduate students.

* The College of Physical Therapy used Cornerstone funds for the first time to provide multimedia equipment for students to use in presentation.

* The Western College of Veterinary Medicine has used funding to help purchase and install a new audiovisual surgical viewing system for transmitting live camera signals from surgery suites and examination rooms.

Cornerstone dollars have and continue to play an important role on campus. Not only do your pledges benefit your college, but by making a pledge, you are carrying on the tradition started by previous grads.

If you currently have an active pledge to your college's Cornerstone Fund, it will soon be your turn to do your part and continue the Cornerstone legacy. Watch for your pledge reminders in the mail in April and take the time to send in your pledged gift. The support from our young graduates is vital to current students here at the U of S.

"One of my reasons for giving to Cornerstone is that I feel it is my duty to all those graduates who contributed before me," says Paije McGrath, graduating Agricultural and Bioresource Engineering Student. "As an undergraduate, I benefited from their contributions and I also benefit from donating to Cornerstone. It helps retain the value of my degree by maintaining the quality of undergraduate education in the college. It also provides me with a tax-deduction."

Making the pledge is just the first step--following through with your commitment is vital! The Cornerstone programs are a graduating class legacy.

If you would like any information about the Cornerstone programs, call Kim Robertson, Development Officer, Alumni and Development at (306)966-8810 or 1-888-293-1907 or email at: kim.robertson@usask.ca

(Julie Fleming Ju�rez is a Saskatoon freelance writer.)