In the Spirit of Giving: ACUI Members Support the College Union, Student Activities Profession Through Friendly Holiday Competitions

The holidays are all about giving, but that doesn’t always mean presents under a tree. Some of the most meaningful merrymaking involves giving thanks, showing appreciation, and lending a helping hand — and ACUI’s annual Day of Giving tomorrow, which also recognizes the Association’s 108th birthday, offers members a chance to do just that.

Donors participating in the 2021 Day of Giving raised $17,136, the highest amount in the program’s history, to support research, education, and scholarships within the college union profession. Looking to follow up on that success, members are getting creative in this year’s mission to support the future of community building, with special challenges coming from members of the Education and Research Fund, the Seasoned Professionals and Retirees Community of Practice, and from directors from various athletic conferences.

Hank Walter, executive director of the Indiana Memorial Union at Indiana University–Bloomington, is once again putting a sporty twist on giving through a friendly challenge based on athletic conferenceswith hopes to inspire more professionals to give back to ACUI. Donations from schools within any given athletic conference will be compared with totals from schools representing other conferences, and donors can use the gift form’s “leave a message” space to identify their preferred conference.

Walter will represent the Big 10, with other members representing athletic conferences in their areas, including Ian Crone, director of the student union at the University of Tennessee–Knoxville (representing the SEC), Deepti Chadee, director of university unions at Texas Christian University (representing the Big 12), and Laurie Woodward, director of the Erb Memorial Union at the University of Oregon (representing the PAC-12).

“Last year, the Big 10 union directors pledged to support the ACUI Day of Giving and raised just short of $2,500,” Walter said. “We knew that, coming out of the pandemic, it would be financially difficult for some members to participate in ACUI events and programs, especially the annual conference. We wanted to do something that would allow people to be a part of the ACUI community that benefits the Association and the profession. The Day of Giving was a great way to do that.”

Walter said the Big 10 set its goal at $2,500 this year; which division comes out on top is yet to be seen.

Other groups are putting a different spin on Day of Giving competitions. For example, Chuck Morrell, ACUI Emeritus 2013, challenged ACUI’s Seasoned Professional and Retirees (SPAR) community of practice to honor past and future members by donating to ACUI’s Day of Giving.

“Now that I am retired, I often wonder what my legacy might be; I believe that legacy is the ongoing support to ACUI in the form of financial support,” Morrell said. “My pledge of support is for the hundreds of professional — and now personal — relationships I have developed over the past 44 years! This is the single most important action we can take as friends of ACUI. It would be great if this challenge sets the bar for the other Communities of Practice to follow.”

Walter echoed Morrell’s sentiments. “From the point I started working for a college union, ACUI became my professional home,” he said. “Participation in ACUI’s IPDS: New Professionals Seminar, the annual conference, and regional and national teams helped me grow professionally and develop a network that was key to my professional success. The Day of Giving was a way for me to give back so that younger professionals (and others) can enjoy the same benefits and growth that I did.”

Eric Margiotta, chair of ACUI’s Education and Research Fund team, director of student unions and engagement at William & Mary, and ACUI’s resident haiku poet laureate, said the team would donate $1,008 in honor of ACUI’s 108th birthday. He also offered this poem as part of a donor call-out:

December is nigh
And chock-full of traditions
Like Day of Giving

For more information on ACUI’s Day of Giving, visit contributions, unless otherwise specified, will go toward the Annual Fund to support awards and scholarship needs beyond the scope of endowments — and additional project needs as identified by ACUI’s Education and Research Fund.


  • Christine Preusler

    Christine Preusler, Managing Editor at The Wyman Company in Gainesville, Florida, writes The Lead for ACUI's biweekly newsletter, The Bulletin. Christine uses more than 15 years of experience in publication management and a master’s in mass communications from the University of Florida to highlight the latest industry news and create thought-provoking content. Contact her via email ( with story ideas and announcements you'd like to see in the newsletter.

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