Johnian magazine issue 49, autumn 2022
A day to remember
The first-ever St John’s College Giving Day took place on 23 and 24 June 2022. Senior Development Officer Jo Beatty reflects on the impact and successes of the day.
The month of June saw St John’s first Giving Day drop into email inboxes, social media feeds and, in some cases, onto doormats around the world. The Giving Day was a chance for our whole community to take part in an exciting fundraising event with the challenge to raise as much money as possible over a 36-hour period to support the Dobson Free Places fund. This primarily-digital event allowed more people than ever before to hear about the future of student support at St John’s and its life-changing outcomes. The Johnian community’s response was overwhelming, with 635 Johnians coming together to help raise an amazing £700,000 (and still counting!).
A special Giving Day film was released featuring some of our students who currently benefit from financial support, to tell their stories and demonstrate the impact your donations can have. Flora Pinne (2019) was keen to be a part the film:
‘I cannot emphasise enough how much my bursary helped me to enjoy my time at Cambridge and ease my financial worries. I have received so much from St John’s and agreeing to participate in the film was the least I could do to show my appreciation. I really enjoyed filming! I had never done anything like it before, but the whole process was very relaxed and it was lovely to catch up with the other students who were part of the film in between takes. I think the Dobson Free Places scheme is incredibly important so that more students can benefit from the same experiences that I had.‘
One of our wonderful Giving Day donors, Laura Day (2014), shares her experience of the day:
‘I remember when I applied to university in 2013, that aside from the academic challenges it posed, it also presented me and my family with a significant financial quandary. I had been encouraged to work in a shop as a teenager and had saved a lot of my own money, and my parents were brilliant in helping me financially as much as they could. Yet, university remained an expensive experience and I constantly had the number in my bank account at the back of my mind when paying for necessities such as food, or contemplating non-essentials such as sports kit or society socials. This memory is why, on Giving Day, I chose to support Dobson Free Places. Everyone, regardless of background, should have the opportunity to take part in the full university experience at St John’s and the Dobson Free Places fund will make this possible for students from some of the most disadvantaged backgrounds. I am particularly impressed that the fund takes into account cost-of-living increases; the economic situation the country is facing will only make it more difficult for many students to access the University in the fullest way possible.
‘The Giving Day was such a wonderful way to raise funds and the fundraising felt communal, celebratory and exciting. I really loved seeing where all the donations were coming from – every corner of the planet was represented. It felt important to be part of the process and that is why I chose to donate. The College made such an enthusiastic effort to engage with the community on the day, which is testament to the strong links St John’s has built and maintains with its alumni. I wanted to be able to give back to the place that I loved learning in and where I had made many great memories. It is lovely to think that my donation will go toward helping someone else have the time of their life at St John’s College.’
The Giving Day meant so much to so many in our community, and its legacy will touch the lives of countless Johnains to come. Thanks are due to everyone who supported it.
We still have a way to go to build the Dobson Free Places fund, and fundraising will continue. For more information on the fund please visit the Dobson Free Places webpage.