Published on June 6, 2017, at 8:01 a.m.
by Josie Seavers.
Home to 62 social Greek-letter organizations, The University of Alabama’s Greek community compromises over 36 percent of the undergraduate student body, making it one of the largest in the United States. In September of 2015, The Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation came to UA with the intention of gaining Greek organizations’ support.
The national foundation, which was founded in 2007, raises money to provide financial and emotional support to families of children with cancer nationwide, funds research for childhood cancer and treatment options, and spreads the B+ (Be Positive) message through outreach efforts and talks.
But, for The University of Alabama’s 2015 B+ Foundation executive director, Olivia Nagy, when it came to promoting an organization new to campus, the challenge was gaining the support of 62 Greek organizations who already supported various philanthropies.
“Greek students are already committed to a lot of different philanthropic organizations,” said Nagy. “It was difficult to figure out a way to promote the foundation’s amazing message in a way that convinced students to devote more of their time and money to another cause.”
Nagy, along with other members of the UA B+ Foundation team, decided the best way to promote B+ was to focus on the individual children who benefited from the organization’s efforts. By creating UA B+ Foundation social media pages and individually speaking to Greek chapters, Nagy and her team were able to establish awareness for the organization.
“We knew we eventually wanted to bring in B+’s founder, Joe McDonough, to speak to Greek students, but before we could do that, we knew we had to first get the foundation off the ground,” said Nagy.
In October of 2015, six weeks after B+’s start at UA, foundation team members held the first annual B+ Foundation Spin-A-Thon, a stationary bike marathon in which Greek organizations reserved a bike for its members to ride during the event and raise awareness for the cause. Over the course of a four-week fundraising period, the event attracted over 400 Greek students and raised $12,000 for the B+ Foundation.
Almost two years later, Nagy, who has since stepped down from her position as executive director of B+ at the University of Alabama, has passed her role onto Julia Travagline, who has continued to promote B+ on UA’s campus.
“As the current executive director of B+ at UA, I have continued to promote the foundation on campus by getting chapter representatives from each Greek chapter on campus,” said Travagline. “We did this through an application process, and each chapter now has one or two representatives. These representatives attend monthly meetings and relay B+ information back to their chapters.”
Through Travagline’s continued efforts, B+ has gained tremendous support from UA’s Greek community.
“Chapters have become more involved and better understand what the B+ Foundation at Alabama is all about,” said Travagline.
This spring, Travagline and the UA B+ team began online fundraising earlier than normal in hopes of raising $100,000 for the 3rd Annual Spin-A-Thon this coming November.
“Focusing on the positive impact the organization has on children and their families has inspired a lot of people to get involved,” said Nagy. “Because B+ has such a powerful message, it is easy to help raise awareness for such a great cause.”