Maggie Reid, Staff Writer
The Trax bracket challenge is a new, engaging way for alumni to donate to Utica College. Like March Madness, the alumni of different years are put into brackets, and whoever donates the most, moves on.
Since the first Utica College class of 1958, there have been 68 graduating classes. In the bracket challenge, however, some years were combined, so there is a total of 64 classes competing to make a gift.
Teams are ranked based on the giving percentage from last year, so the highest percentage of alumni that gave last year were ranked higher, while the fewer that gave were ranked lower. Each round has lasted for a total of four days so far, according to Nick Accordino, executive director of annual support programs.
“We ask each alumni to make a gift of any amount,” Accordino said. “It’s not about the total amount, but about people actually giving, and doing the action of it.”
The Trax bracket challenge is a new way to engage alumni, instead of sending letters and calling them by phone.
“It’s a different way for them to get excited about financially supporting the college,” Accordino said.
This is the college’s first time trying something like this. Although, according to Accordino, other schools probably have done this in the past.
Although the winning class mostly gets bragging rights, they will be recognized via social media, as well as at the homecoming football game this fall.
The money that is raised by the alumni will go towards scholarships, peer tutoring and career resources.
The reason behind the bracket challenge is due to the traditional channels such as phone-a-thon and mailing not doing so well.
“People don’t answer their phones as much, so now we are trying to make a game out of it because nationally phone-a-thon isn’t doing as well nationally as it did ten years ago,” Accordino said. “We are finding new ways to engage our alumni so that they can help support.”
The idea and goal behind the bracket challenge is not the dollar amount, but the donor amount.
“We are seeing how many people we can get to donate that didn’t donate last year,” Accordino said. “Even if we get someone from a class who didn’t donate last year to donate a dollar, we will view this as successful.”