The 2518 Campaign was originally started in October of 2018 with the hope of providing financial help for first-generation students at Utah Valley University. The campaign continues in 2021, looking to have 2,518 students and community members join the effort.
The campaign’s name is based on the cost of a single semester of in-state tuition from 2018, but that number has not changed very much over the years.
First-generation students are a big priority for the university, according to Assistant Director of Alumni Relations Shaun Singh, with about 37% of the on-campus population being included in the first-generation category.
The goal for 2021 is to endow two scholarships, each worth $40,000. This goal is going to be hit through the support of the on-campus community, such as student groups like the Student Alumni Organization.
“We want them to be the great pioneers of their families,” Singh said of first-generation students. “With the personal sacrifice that their parents make or their families make, UVU provides that opportunity for these students that don’t have the means to have the tuition available. This 2518 campaign allows not only students to contribute towards the campaign, but it also allows our respected alumni to contribute as well.”
Singh characterized the campaign as a complete joint effort on campus, adding that the campaign is online this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and that has helped them reach out to more people.
The official launch for the 2518 Campaign is March 29, with it running until April 10 — but Singh said that many people have already started donating. Some of those donations came in as early as the beginning of March.
In 2020, the campaign fell short of its goal due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Right after starting to accept donations, the pandemic shut down on-campus activities right in the middle of the campaign, leading to a bigger push to hit the goal this year.
On top of the financial support, UVU announced the establishment of a First-Generation Student Success Center in 2020. In coordination with each other, the campaign and the outreach center help first-generation students by hosting events, providing mentorship opportunities, and holding leadership programs. Many of these activities also were moved online during the COVID-19 pandemic, making them more accessible.
When asked about the importance of having a large first-generation student population at UVU, he was quick to reply.
“That’s probably one of the strongest messages from the president’s office down to every faculty, staff, and alumni that we try to get to all of our students,” Singh said. “It’s part of one of the main recruiting tools as well. We know that students have a lot of options when it comes to college opportunities, and Utah has multiple college opportunities here, but UVU provides a unique opportunity. The scholarships that this first-generation scholarship provides for these students, go a long way for them.”
Singh continued, saying that the university is proud of the campaign with hopes to continue it as long as possible.