As you may know, our IMAGINE fundraising and volunteering campaign launched on Tuesday 7 June. In today’s blog, Dale Cooper, our Director of Campaigns and Supporter Engagement reflects on what makes this campaign, and the University, so special.
The launch of our IMAGINE campaign was the culmination of many months of hard work by the team. The excitement in team was palpable as the various elements came together on the day – from organising promotional materials to arranging the venue through to welcoming the guests.
These types of events are a difficult balancing act to get right. Too much glamour and people are put off; too little and the event falls flat. Many universities hold glitzy gala dinners to launch their campaigns. We didn’t feel this was right for Reading. The impact of our research and teaching is at the heart of the IMAGINE campaign. We wanted something that was authentic, that spoke to how we influence the world for the better. But, it also needed to be engaging, appealing and thought-provoking.
This is why we decided on a panel discussion, drawing on our 90 year history and the words of our first Vice-Chancellor, we asked the panelists to consider “to dream and imagine: the impact of our research in the coming 90 years.’ Our panelists met the brief magnificently. Despite their disparate disciplines, they found fascinating connections that really highlighted the interdisciplinary nature of our work. It’s what makes our University a great institution.
We billed the launch event as a ‘friends and family’ style event and the atmosphere on the night was warm, engaged and fun. We had a government minister mixing with students, who chatted to a Mayor, who swapped business cards with academics, who reminisced with alumni. The launch event really spoke to what the IMAGINE campaign and the University of Reading is all about: people coming together in a spirit of collegiality to imagine solutions to a better world.
A video of the event and the debate will be available shortly. In the meantime, you can find out more about IMAGINE at http://www.reading.ac.uk/imagine/imagine.aspx.