On November 10, 2016, alumni, faculty, staff and students came together for a one-day fundraising event. For 24 hours, Converse friends and families expressed their dedication on social media, sharing tributes on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Homages came in from all over the world, from right here on campus, to India, to Morocco. Converse College received more than 400 gifts totaling $80,714 during that 24-hour time frame.
This one-day movement was included as part of Converse’s traditional 1889 week of events. Students on campus wore their horns and tails while alumnae across the globe participated by wearing purple and gold. Many participants who made a gift to Converse posted a picture on social media with their “Count Me In” envelope and the hashtag #RockTheTower.
In North Dakota, English graduate Katie Landon Fitch ’02 posted about how Converse shaped her future, the power of failure, and the enduring power of our sisterhood.
Here’s why Katie rocked the tower:
“I love a good social media campaign. I’m a social media junkie and a student of philanthropy. But this one is extra special. It’s a sweet opportunity to reflect on a transformative time in my life and a tremendous sisterhood of Converse alumnae. On this #RockTheTower day, here are my top 3 reasons for giving today.”
Relationships. “A lot of folks can talk about the friendships they made during college. And I can too. All. Day. Long. The very dearest of friendships. But perhaps only at a small liberal arts college can you point to deep, life-long relationships with faculty and administrators. I am who I am today because of the ways Dr. Dunn pushed me to THINK in the Vietnam Experience. The way Dr. Brown challenged me to work HARD in an incredibly tough course on Shakespeare. The ways Dr. Carmean led me to search out my own IDENTITY, as we explored modern American literature. Sitting in their classrooms or around their kitchen tables, I learned who I was through the power of these relationships.”
Involvement. “Student life experiences at Converse – SGA, Model League, Orientation Staff, and many, many more – taught me to engage. This led to extensive involvement in civic, religious, and professional organizations to this day. I learned to actively seek opportunities to LEARN, SERVE, and LEAD. It led me to Young Life, Team in Training, Junior League, and many more. From nonprofit boards to teaching Sunday School, I have continued to learn outside the classroom, because the Converse culture taught me to seek involvement and to know my involvement made an impact.”
Failure. “I failed so many times – in the classroom and out, during my time at Converse. (And as I started my career there as a young alumna.) But it was SAFE. There were consequences; enough to learn and grow. But the community was strong. And I always knew, my entire Converse family was – and is – in my corner. In any healthy family, there is room for imperfection. There is room for risk taking and second chances. There is a great cloud of witnesses cheering you on and gently nudging you toward your potential.
If you are a Converse alumna (or faculty, staff, or administrator), I hope you’ll join me in giving back to Converse today. If you aren’t, I hope you’ll reflect on your own educational experience and consider a gift to your alma mater or related organization.”