BLOOMINGTON — Students at Illinois Wesleyan University were busy writing on Monday, but it wasn't for a classroom assignment.
Monday was Thank a Giver day, when students are asked to write a letter to a donor thanking them for their gift and explaining how it helped them.
Sophomore Quinn Higginbothan, a biology major from Sherman, said scholarships and financial aid he has received make it possible for him to attend IWU.
“Without these sorts of donations, I wouldn't be able to go here,” said Higginbothan, who has his eyes on attending medical school.
Tables set up near the dining area in The Dugout and in the Center for the Natural Sciences were staffed by students during the day. Postcards were available on which students could write their thank-you notes.
There also was another enticement: free cookies.
The cookies were symbolic as well as tasty. The frosted cookies had more than a quarter of a chunk missing. The missing chunk represented the key piece to keeping IWU open: the donations that cover 30 percent of the cost of operating the university.
“You can see it's a substantial part," said Higginbothan.
Breanna Walker of Gibson City, a sophomore in accounting, said the cookies are a nice incentive but “a lot of people are wanting to give back to the donors.”
Sophomore Sydney Alery, a business marketing major from Stevens Point, Wis., said, “We're trying to get everyone engaged on campus.”
Some are writing several postcards, in hopes of having enough to send one to each of the approximately 2,000 donors who give to IWU.
“Without these donors, without the scholarship, I would not be able to attend IWU,” said Alery.
This is the fifth year that IWU has had Thank a Giver day. The day in February is chosen because it is about 70 percent of the way through the academic year, meaning the remaining 30 percent is what is supported through donors' dollars.