WLU gets baking for United Way

Laurier's United Way kick-off event was held on Thursday (Photo by Kha Vo)

Laurier’s United Way kick-off event was held on Thursday (Photo by Kha Vo)

Wilfrid Laurier University’s United Way campaign kick-off was held on October 1 at the Brantford campus and continued on to the Waterloo campus on October 10. This year, WLU faculty and staff held a bake-off, where each faculty created home-baked goods to raise money with the incentive of a prize for the team who raised the most.

United Way has had a long-standing relationship with Laurier and the Kitchener-Waterloo area and is continually growing.

According to Jennifer Casey, director of university relations, United Way is a wonderful organization because it is like a “big umbrella” that helps support and fund agencies throughout the Kitchener-Waterloo area.

“Staff faculty are making use of some of these agencies from time to time. So for us, it’s really about supporting those agencies and it’s an easy way with a donation to help a whole lot of organizations at once. That’s what’s great about United Way,” said Casey.

Last year, the campaign on both campuses raised a total of $56,500. But in terms of goals for this year, Casey explained that their main focus is to increase their participation rate. Last year, 12 per cent of WLU staff and faculty participated in the campaign. This year, they are hoping to boost this to 15 per cent.

“It’s not about the amount; it’s about getting involved and getting committed,” said Casey. “Students have always been such great role models for the university of how to get engaged and give back.

Now it’s time for the staff and faculty to do the same, and it’s through United Way we are hoping they’ll do that.”

Money will be raised through pledge forms, in which the WLU faculty can donate one time, monthly or through payroll deduction. There will also be fundraisers hosted by United Way that will contribute in raising money.

“Even donating the cost of a coffee a day would make a tremendous difference for those agencies…Staff and faculty can sign their pledge form and can amount pledges over the year,” said Casey.

Being new to working with WLU this year, Caitlin White, resource development officer for United Way Kitchener-Waterloo area, stated that there is “great energy” at the university. These types of events create active participation, which is needed in creating awareness. White hopes to strengthen the community around the Kitchener-Waterloo area. But also understanding the different “stories” happening within this area and the challenges people are facing. She hopes to share the [United Way] story and bring everyone together to action.

“Everybody has really come together to think strategically about Laurier’s presence within the community and how they make a difference,” said White.

The United Way student club at WLU has also gained more recognition since it has been established. Chantel Hamel, a co-president of the club, explained that Laurier United Way began with only two members, and grew to six within the past year. However, this year, they had a turnout of about 30 people in their first general members meeting.

“So the membership has increased, and so far this [United Way kick-off 2013] is the biggest staff campaign that has gone on. The interest in United Way has increased,” said Hamel.

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