An EWU Spin on Giving Tuesday

March 20, 2017 By eastern247
Student and Pat Spanjer posing outside the library on Giving Joy Day

Giving Joy Day is EWU’s version of the international Giving Tuesday, a day dedicated to encouraging generosity and goodwill at the beginning of the holiday season. The event, which will happen again next year on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, has two purposes – to help raise funds for EWU scholarships and to spread joy and perform acts of kindness throughout the community.

EWU Class Performs Good Deeds on Giving Joy Day

Small acts of kindness were performed throughout the Spokane-Cheney community on Giving Joy Day, thanks to the efforts of an EWU public relations class.

“When I heard that EWU was launching Giving Joy Day, I thought it would be a good opportunity to not only help support the university in an important cause and campaign but also help show our students how PR can be used to promote good,” said Jessica Boyer ’03, EWU public relations lecturer.

Giving Joy Day asked the community to focus on two goals: raise money for scholarships and perform acts of kindness throughout the community. Boyer encouraged her students to find ways to give back to the community, then share it with class over the discussion board and social media platforms.

“I was really impressed with the thoughtful and creative ideas the students came up with to help participate and spread much-needed kindness and joy in our community,” Boyer said.

Helping a neighbor in need

Senior Rachel O’Donnell found that a small act in her neighborhood had a large impact.

After watching her neighbor attempting to unload a Christmas tree from the roof of her car, O’Donnell stepped in and carried the tree up to her neighbor’s third-floor apartment.

“As students, it seems like we sometimes get too wrapped up in our own busy schedules to see how much one single act of kindness could really make a difference,” said O’Donnell.

The neighbor then explained to O’Donnell that this is the first Christmas she would spend alone because she wasn’t able to travel back home for the holidays due to work.

“I was able to show her that even though she’s away from her family for the holidays, she’s never truly alone,” O’Donnell said.

O’Donnell said that idea – we are never truly alone – has permeated her experience at Eastern.

“I think that Eastern’s Giving Joy Day gave people the chance to see that even a small action can have a larger effect,” she said.

Video games for charity

Putting a 25-year hobby to good use, junior Shelby Miksch pledged to play video games for 24 hours in exchange for monetary donations through a fundraising campaign called Extra Life.

“I’ve played video games as a hobby more or less since I was in elementary school,” Miksch said. “Combining my love of video games with a chance to raise money for Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital was a no-brainer.”

Extra Life unites gamers around the world in a marathon to support Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Miksch used her social media channels to draw awareness to her cause.

“I got to spend time doing something that I love in order to make life better for kids who are going through some rough stuff,” she said. “It’s hard to beat that.”

Dog treat tradition

Combining his love for animals and desire to carry on a family tradition, junior Thomas “T” Ghezzi handmade dog treats to give to new owners at Spokanimal, a local animal shelter.

img_2333“As a kid, my mom would make dog treats, and we would hand them out to friends and family,” he said. “She retired recently, and I wanted to pass on that tradition of what she’s done.”

Ghezzi also retrieved old tennis balls from the Spokane Racquet Club, creating a pack full of treats and a toy. He dropped off a total of four pounds of “tail waggers” (homemade dog treats), two large bags of dog food and 20 tennis balls.

“I like the idea of helping local – I think it’s really important,” he said. “I wanted to do something that impacted an organization and create a ripple effect.”

Next year, Ghezzi said he’d like to do a project on a bigger scale involving animals.

“I wanted to do something to help people, and having the opportunity to go out and do something [with Giving Joy Day] was the spark I needed to go through with it,” he said.