Emerson sends hundreds of socks across country for fundraising campaign

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Emerson sends hundreds of socks across country for fundraising campaign

Donations from Tight Knit go to benefit student organizations. Screenshot from Emerson College Alumni Association Facebook Video.

Donations from Tight Knit go to benefit student organizations. Screenshot from Emerson College Alumni Association Facebook Video.

Donations from Tight Knit go to benefit student organizations. Screenshot from Emerson College Alumni Association Facebook Video.

Donations from Tight Knit go to benefit student organizations. Screenshot from Emerson College Alumni Association Facebook Video.

By Katiana Hoefle

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Over 400 purple socks featuring the Emerson logo and Boston skyline traveled across the world to reach donors for Tight Knit: The Emerson Sock Campaign—an initiative created to increase alumni participation in fundraising for the college. 

Every individual that donates to Tight Knit: The Emerson Sock Campaign receives a pair of socks for their contribution. Jilian Naimo and Sasha Castroverde, associate directors of the Office of Institutional Advancement, created the event. The donations are alloted to any Emerson academic program or student scholarship fund the donor chooses, according to Emerson’s website.

Tight Knit ran from Oct. 28 to Nov. 4, raising a total of $17,979 through 434 donors, double its intended goal of 200 donors. Alumni made up 49 percent of donations. Twenty-three percent of remaining donations came from parents, 16 percent came from faculty and staff, and seven percent came from students. 

“We would love to turn this into an annual thing,” Naimo said. “But with different socks each year for everyone to vote on.” 

Sock Club, a sock manufacturing company located in Austin, Texas, designed two socks for the campaign that the Emerson community voted on via Facebook and Instagram. The other option was a purple argyle sock. 

“We got a lot of really positive reactions in engagement,” said Jenny Woodford ‘13, Assistant Director of Alumni Digital Engagement, who organized the social media posts to promote the campaign. “We had people sending us pictures even after the campaign of themselves with their socks on Twitter which is really cool. A lot of positive encouragement and feedback.” 

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While the Office of Institutional Advancement creates various donation projects every year, this was their first gift-giving campaign. Naimo said the office decided on this type of donation initiative after researching campaigns at other schools and seeking what engaged people most.

“We see other schools hook up something similar to this, we added an Emerson twist, but we thought that it would be something fun to do,” Naimo said in an interview. “The Emerson twist was the sock design and getting people involved in the voting process and the email process.”

The Office of Institutional Advancement worked with various departments at the college and community members, including staff, students, alumni, and faculty, to promote the campaign. In order to create a promotional video for the campaign, the office worked with Emerson Productions, the video production department for Emerson College.

Sophomore Surya Sundararajan modeled for the video along with eight other students. 

“They just asked me to put on purple socks, and then I got in front of a yellow background and just danced around,” Sundararajan said in an interview. “It was fun!” 

The campaign donation page allowed donors to become advocates for their cause of choice by sharing the page on social media or sending it to their friends with the hashtag #EmersonisTIGHTKNIT. Donors could also create their own videos or “personal pleas,” explaining why they chose to donate. 

“I have this premonition that there is someone out there, or maybe currently at Emerson, who would remind me so much of myself that it would freak me out a little who deserves to have the best possible experience at Emerson,” Alumni Engagement Assistant Kayla Carcone ‘19 said in her personal plea video. “It’s just the act of paying it forward to that person and those people that emboldens me to give.” 

Naimo said the campaign specifically targeted alumni because higher-education reports use alumni participation to determine the school’s ranking compared to other universities.  

Publications like the U.S. News & World Report use alumni philanthropy as a factor to rank Emerson among other colleges and universities within the country, which has an impact in determining the strength of your degree,” the Office of Institutional Advancement’s home page reads. “Foundations and corporations also use these rankings as a factor when they evaluate grant funding.

Many alumni were passionate about the program and the ability to give back to Emerson. 

“Emerson has been a wonderful support system for me throughout my career,” Aimee Rivera ’07 said in her personal plea video. “It is only important to pay it forward and give back and give opportunities for other students to hopefully have the same success and support that I myself, and many others, got in the Emerson community.”