Gratitude Dawning on the Hilltop

A first-year student’s account of Day of the Dons

by Eva Reyes, Office of Development Communications

With the spring semester halfway done, midterm season is just starting to weigh heavily on our schedules and minds. Thanks to Day of the Dons, the Dons were able to come together in solidarity during what tends to be a stressful period on campus.

On February 25th, the first floor of the UC building was showered in green and gold for the annual Day of the Dons carnival. In the spirit of Mardi Gras, the crowd paraded around bustling tables as a live jazz band complimented the vibrant energy of the event.

An Annual Tradition of Giving

For the past six years, USF has used this day as an opportunity to laud our Dons community in support of creating opportunities for today and tomorrow. This day of giving is one in which we invite others to remember the contributions that have been made on behalf of those closest to us.

This year’s campaign set out to attract 1,885 donors, a feat that would commemorate USF’s founding in 1885. With the help of a $300,000 gift from the Board of Trustees, the USF community was able to surpass their goal with an astonishing total of 2,582 donors and $639,287 raised.

In recognition of our gratitude, the students, staff, alumni, and parents from around the globe made donations and wrote short sentiments to show gratitude for the generosity of donors and for the university’s successes.

Student getting their caricature done

Emily Daza ’23 and Victoria Silverman ’22 attended the 2020 Day of the Dons carnival and expressed how refreshing it was to see the community actively working to better students’ experiences on campus.

“What makes this event so special is the opportunity we get to express USF pride and show that as students, we care and support each other,” said Daza.

Something for Everyone

At the event, a series of fun activities brought smiles to faces all around campus. Attendees could enjoy light concessions while interacting with games and punch tickets that gave them access to carnival-themed entertainment.

Meanwhile, the USF spirit squad made an appearance at the photo booth to try to capture their excitement and gratitude with short emotive posters in hand. Shiny poms and Don’s mustaches lingered about as endless lines wrapped around the floor for your choice of face painting, balloon animals, basketball, and more.

Students Making a Difference

Student advocacy was another large contributor to the day’s success. Kayla Gonzales ’21, a student volunteering at one of the tables, shared how her partnership with the Intercultural Center helps plan the end of the year ceremony for graduating classes.

“By increasing student outreach, our team hopes to sympathize with and provide more resources for those who face cultural hardships within the USF community,” adds Gonzales.

While Gonzales’ role in Day of the Dons mainly consisted of generating more awareness and donations for the Intercultural Center, there were several other campus programs and initiatives that attendees could support in-person and online.

She hopes that with the funds that are donated at events like these, USF will be able to honor each student’s academic and cultural accomplishments acquired during their time at the institution.

At USF, the power of a Don’s spirit goes a long way. On the Day of the Dons, the university provides an enjoyable opportunity for several groups to come together as advocates for change in our Jesuit university community. These festivities actively remind us of what it means to be a Don and what we can bring to the world.

All gifts made on Day of the Dons support Changing the World From Here: Campaign for the University of San Francisco.