(This story is sponsored by Langara College.)
For its 49th anniversary, Langara College created a multifaceted fundraising campaign that would transform the lives of students. The Beyond 49 campaign collected funds from generous members of the community that would support over 25 college initiatives.
Since the launch of Beyond 49 in October 2018, the Vancouver college raised an impressive $2.9 million, exceeding the original goal of $2.5 million. Through the fundraiser, the esteemed post-secondary institution was able to reconnect with alumni, engage with the community, and gain the resources needed to support current and future students.
Previous fundraisers at the college focused solely on scholarships and bursaries. But for the 49th anniversary, the Langara College Foundation embarked on the largest and first-of-its-kind campaign in the College’s history. This gave community members the opportunity to donate to the programs that were of personal interest to them.
The support that the college provides to its students comes in all different shapes and sizes.
For example, those concerned with sustainability and the environment could specifically donate to the “Making Solar Power Possible” or “Helping Students ‘Think Green’” initiatives. The students and faculty at Langara were quick to take action once these fundraising goals were met.
“Not only did our student Sustainability Club assist in raising the funds and purchasing the panels, the students were also involved in the installation,” says Moira Gookstetter, executive director for the Langara College Foundation. “We saw it as a unique opportunity for a hands-on learning experience.” This shows that providing its students with one-of-a-kind educational experiences is at the forefront of everything that the college does.
Students in the Geographical Information Systems (GIS) program also benefited from the Beyond 49 campaign as they were awarded funding for a new lab. The innovative GIS lab is now equipped with the specialized computers and software required by students for optimal learning.
Donations from the Beyond 49 campaign also went toward the integration of an online filing system for Langara’s counselling department. With health records being stored on one digital platform, counsellors can support students struggling with academic or personal challenges more effectively and efficiently.
Another key focus of the fundraising campaign was to make the college accessible for all students. By implementing a software system called Accommodate, students facing physical or learning barriers can now sign up online for the use of specialized spaces and technology instead of having to visit the office. “Langara faculty and staff deeply care about the students and their success,” says Gookstetter. “We want to try and eliminate any barrier that a student has to realizing their educational goals.”
The Beyond 49 campaign also raised funds for Studio 58, the college’s professional theatre training program, as well as the Indigenous upgrading program, the Kevin Hanson student athlete scholarship, and the SOS Emergency Fund—to name a few.
Throughout this unnerving pandemic, the college has been able to help students by offering them resources and bursaries that were replenished by compassionate donors during the fundraiser. Along with the SOS Emergency Fund, donations also went toward restocking the Community Cupboard, a campus food bank for vulnerable students facing food insecurity.
“Prior to COVID-19, about eight to 10 students were accessing this program on a weekly basis but a month ago in the midst of the pandemic we saw 150 students in one week,” says Gookstetter. “We have been able to support the students in so many different ways because of the generosity of our donors.”
As the fundraising campaign nears its online closing celebration on June 9th, Langara’s community is feeling “Beyond Grateful” for all of the gifts that they’ve received. Despite the end of the fundraiser, the College will continue developing efforts that will improve the lives of students.
“Everyone that works in our department for the foundation has such a strong calling to support our students and we are incredibly proud to work for a postsecondary institution that cares so much for its students,” says Gookstetter. “It’s tremendously rewarding to help people discover what they’re passionate about and to see students receiving the support they need. There’s nothing else like it.”
To donate to Langara’s Beyond 49 campaign, visit www.beyond49.langara.ca/give/.