Three student projects have received funding from community donationts through SaxaFund, a student-alumni collaboration launched in the spring.
SaxaFund was launched in March 2017 by a coalition of Georgetown University alumni, the Georgetown University Student Association and Georgetown University Alumni and Student Federal Credit Union and Students of Georgetown, Inc. CEOs to serve as a crowdfunding tool for student initiatives and products.
Projects appealing for donations through SaxaFund are raising money successfully, according to GUSA President Kamar Mack (COL ’19). Successfully funded projects include a student film and a service for building credit history.
The fund’s financial support comes primarily from alumni donations, and three alumni are members of its board, broadening SaxaFund’s reach to potential donors willing to support student initiatives.
“We have alumni sit on the board of the SaxaFund; it’s a partnership between current students and alumni themselves,” Mack said.
One of the first endeavors SaxaFund promoted was an initiative to fund portable field lights for club sports teams after the closure of Kehoe Field. The field was closed in February 2016 after university administrators and club sports teams using the field raised safety concerns about uneven playing surfaces, exposed concrete and large sections of torn-up artificial turf.
The closure left club sports teams without an on-campus playing location, forcing them to practice on off-campus fields, which often lacked lights for nighttime practices. This proceeded until a SaxaFund grant helped fund the portable lights.
GUSA Athletics Policy Chair Daniel Fain (COL ‘18) said using SaxaFund to raise money for portable lights has allowed the various club sports teams to continue in a relatively stable manner.
“While the lights are not a permanent solution to the problem of field space, they are vital to the growth and well-being of the club sports community,” Fain said. “SaxaFund offered the opportunity for the Georgetown community to acknowledge this need and come together in support.”
Fain said that without the help of SaxaFund, raising money for the lights would have been very challenging.
“Without SaxaFund, we would likely have hoped for a single large donation, which would have been unlikely,” Fain said.
Each of the three student-run organizations involved manage a different aspect of SaxaFund: GUASFCU handles the finances, The Corp is involved in the business and marketing side, while GUSA provides institutional support.
“It really stemmed from a sense that a quick, flexible funding source is very helpful. And it is very much student-run and student owned. And I think one of the things that makes Georgetown great is that students take an entrepreneurial initiative and SaxaFund really filled that need as something run by The Corp, GUSA and GUASFCU. And we all kind of support each other and play a role,” Mack said.
Former GUSA President Enushe Khan (MSB ’17) and Vice President Chris Fisk (COL ’17) pushed forward the launch of SaxaFund last year, according to current GUSA Vice President Jessica Andino (COL ’18). This year, Garrett Williams (COL ’18) is one of the principle GUSA members involved in the initiative.
However, with regards to exposure to student groups who need donations from SaxaFund, both Mack and Fain believe there is more that can be done.
“I hope that awareness of SaxaFund continues to increase among the entire Georgetown community,” Fain said.