“Purple and Gold Day” returns to Western

Steven Barnum , News editor

“Purple and Gold Day” is making its return to the Macomb and Moline communities on Wednesday.

Through the campaign “The Purple and Gold Challenge”, alumni are encouraged to make donations to their former schools. Western Illinois University has participated in the event annually since 2000, which called attention to the 100-year anniversary of the school’s inception. According to Carrie Van Fleet, the Associate Director of the Alumni Program, Wednesday will be the largest effort to raise money all year.

“This is a chance for our alumni to show their Leatherneck pride,” Van Fleet said. “We’re hopefully going to get Leathernecks from all across the country to donate.”

Van Fleet compares “Purple and Gold Day” to “Giving Tuesday”, which is a day designed to promote kindness in the United States. The latter takes place the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, which is what Van Fleet believes sets Western’s day apart.

One of the distinguishing factors for Western will be its events that feature local leaders. The alumni house will host a complimentary breakfast from 7:30 to 9 a.m., a meal in which the mayor of Macomb and members of the Chamber of Commerce often attend. Later that day, there’s another hot spot for the event planned at Sports Corner between 5 and 7 p.m.

The aspirations for “Purple and Gold Day” have evolved throughout the years. Van Fleet said that the campaign was originally meant to create a fun atmosphere. Now, it’s a day when alumni can look forward to giving back tothe university.

“The last couple of years we’ve set a record of how many people made donations,” she said. “Each year we’ve reached our goal and have a new record. More people seem to get involvedeach year.”

Members of the Western community can keep track of donations and where they come from throughout the day. Van Fleet said that organizers will present a chart that shows which state collects the most donations. Illinois typically wins because it’s home to most former Leathernecks, but she said that it’s still interesting to see which states bring in the most money.

Those who donate to the university on Wednesday will be able to choose which program gets their money. They may also decide to donate money to create scholarships. But for those who aren’t able to donate, Van Fleet says that they can still participate.

“We encourage everyone to wear purple that day,” she said. “It’s a fun day for everyone to get together and celebrate everything Western.”