Hillsdale’s 1844 Society is challenging students to help fundraise for scholarships in just 30 hours starting Thursday and Friday, with its first-ever campus fundraising campaign.

“This campaign is not about the college asking Hillsdale students for their money to be put into a general fund,” 1844 Society President senior Mariah Hardy said. “This is about reminding ourselves of what we love about Hillsdale and pondering how we can give back to our peers to ensure that the next generation of Hillsdale students can graduate.”

By asking students to donate in amounts of $2, $5, $10, and $18.44, members said they hope to raise enough to finance four Ransom Dunn scholarships. Four seniors this year benefit from these need-based scholarships. Bonnie Hough ’84 and her husband, David, have pledged $100,000 to the campaign, and members of the 1844 Society said they want to match the amount.

Starting with a social media campaign and online giving at noon on Thursday, 50 students will post pictures and statuses with #payitforward and #1844ever to raise awareness for the 1,844-minute event, in addition to pledging money themselves. Then, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, members of the 1844 Society will collect online and cash donations in the Grewcock Student Union.

Among the 50 student advocates who will post on social media and pledging money are the Class of 2017 officers. Senior Class President Jacob Thackston said he is eager to help his peers.

“That is what’s so great about the Ransom Dunn scholarship,” Thackston said. “It’s a way to help other students stay here and benefit from this great education.”

Director of the 1844 Society Colleen McGinness said there isn’t a set goal for the fundraiser but that she is hoping to at least match the $5,000 raised for the Ransom Dunn scholarship last year.

“We have a participation goal of 13 percent,” McGinness said. “It sounds small, but only 13 percent of students gave last year over the entire academic year. If 13 percent of students give in one 30-hour period, that will be a great success.”, a crowdfunding website, will allow students to see the fundraising happen in real time. As an incentive, student advocates who donate money and encourage their peers to do likewise will have the chance to win prizes, including a $100 bookstore gift card, $100 Amazon gift card, and an iPad Mini.

Members of the 1844 Society said they know it’s not easy for college kids to give money, but McGinness said she’s hopeful.

“College kids’ pockets are not deep,” McGinness said. “But, most students can give something, even if it’s $5 and they sacrifice a latte that week. We are wildly blessed by thousands of people around the country who are giving to afford this kind of an education for every student here at Hillsdale.”

For Thackston, it’s more than just being thankful for a Hillsdale education, he said; it’s also about creating lifelong stewards of the college.

“One of our big duties as senior class officers is to engage the seniors not just now but also give as alumni,” Thackston said. “The students who will be most engaged after graduation are the ones that give.”

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Thomas Novelly
Collegian Editor-in-Chief, Thomas Novelly was born in Novi, Michigan, but was raised in Franklin, Tennessee, making him a self-proclaimed "Yankee gone South." Thomas began writing for The Collegian as a sophomore, and since has served as a reporter, columnist, and Assistant City News Editor. He has also worked for two major publications, interning at the Washington Free Beacon in D.C. and The Tennessean in Nashville. His work has been seen in National publications such as CBS News, National Review Online, Stars And Stripes, and USA Today. Follow him on Twitter @TomNovelly.