NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Student Challenge to contribute to TSU’s historic “$1 Million in 1 Month” is officially underway.
Organized by the Pre-Alumni Council, the students used the very elegant and elaborate first annual Great Gatsby Ball in Elliott Hall on the main campus Friday evening to kick-off various programs planned to raise funds for the campaign.
“This is one of our many opportunities to give back to this institution,” said Jeffrey Thomas, Jr., a senior fashion and merchandising major from Nashville, who is also president of the Pre-Alumni Council.
“This formal event, with live band, dinner and a host, is an opportunity to get students to meet in a formal setting, interact with alumni, and to energize them for this great campaign launched by President (Glenda) Glover.”
In a historic, long-term partnership with the Nashville Predators, TSU announced the campaign on Feb. 2 to raise $1 million during Black History Month for student scholarships. Since then, activities have included a “TSU Night” at the Bridgestone Arena, with appearances by the Aristocrat of Bands and the New Direction Gospel Choir, as well as a Big Blue Old School Concert at the Gentry Complex.
Other campaign activities include the TSU Alumni Chapter Challenge Feb. 1-7; Faculty/Staff Challenge Feb. 8-14; TSU Divine Nine Fraternity and Sorority Challenge Feb. 15-21; TSU Sunday Day of Giving on Feb. 23; and TSU College and Student Challenge Feb. 22-29.
According to officials, the Great Gatsby Ball, themed after the “Roaring Twenties Costumes” and fashion era, gives the university the opportunity to showcase students – how to dress up and socialize and network in a professional manner.
“It is an opportunity to teach them about being in their circle but yet dignified and representing themselves well,” said Cassandra Griggs, director of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving. “It’s all about branding yourself. So, having alums and students having fun together is just an exciting evening for us.”
Amid the pomp, glitz and glamour, fitted with a red carpet entrance, interviews and photographing, the students said the ball was something they will not soon forget, because for some, it made up for lost time.
Elijah Poston’s date missed out on her high school prom, the sophomore biology major from Cincinnati said.
“She did not have a prom experience in high school and this gave her an opportunity to dress up and be escorted like it would have been on a prom night,” said Poston, a scholarship recipient from the Cincinnati Alumni Chapter of the TSU National Alumni Association. “I am glad to be by her side at this very elegant program. This is a great cause and I am going to do all I can to help. That scholarship has helped me immensely.”
During this month, Poston is volunteering with the Honors College to call out to alumni to contribute to the $1 Million in 1 Month campaign.
Deseree Hill, a freshman social work major from Birmingham, Alabama, did not need a scholarship to come to TSU, but she is excited about helping to raise funds to keep other students in school.
“I am glad to be here tonight, have fun and at the same time help in this very worthy cause,” Hill said.
Among alumni at the ball was Dwight Beard, a Nashville/Davidson County businessman, who is also president of the Nashville Chapter of the TSUNAA. He described the ball as “very beautiful and elegant.”
“This is how we want to teach our students to be professional when they go to the corporate world or in their various career fields,” said Beard. “They will be going into a lot of places like this. By them participating in this campaign teaches them to give back. This is a start, because once they leave and become successful, they will come back and give to the school that gave them their foundations.”
To donate, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/1million1month or text TSU1MIL to 41444.
Department of Media Relations
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Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees. TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee. With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.