Writing thank you notes is something of a lost art. Today, we text our thank yous, we email our notes of gratitude, but very few people take the time to sit down and handwrite a thank you note.
For the last four years, Ringling College of Art and Design has set out to change that. Give Thanks Day, appropriately held just before Thanksgiving each year, is a day-long celebration in which students from all majors, faculty, and staff come together to write personal notes of thanks to donors of the College, who help students achieve their dream of becoming professional creatives.
The Roskamp auditorium is decorated for the occasion, complete with music, decorations and photo-ops, complete with props. The college also videotapes students saying “thank you” and sharing why donor support is so meaningful to them.
The College Advancement office hands out t-shirts and provides lunch to all of those who participate.
The idea for the inaugural Give Thanks Day (in 2016) came from Vice President for Advancement, Stacey Corley, who recognized how meaningful it was for donors to have personal contact with the students they were helping. Over the years, many donors have commented that building relationships with the students, and watching them progress in their studies, helped them to understand the difference their donations were making in these students’ lives.
The event has grown tremendously over the years, with 434 participating in the first year of the event, and more than 700 participating this year, sending out 1,025 thank you notes. Students often personalize their notes by sharing their own stories, or adding illustrations of hearts, flowers, self-portraits, etc.
Ringling College donors support a wide variety of needs at Ringling College, including scholarships, facilities, state-of-the-art technology, the Alfred R. Goldstein Library, and its many programs and services, the Sarasota Museum of Art, and much more. It is only through the donors’ support that Ringling College is able to pursue its goal of becoming the preeminent art and design college in the world.