As their parting gift to UW Tacoma, 2018 graduates are invited to contribute to the UW Tacoma Life Savers Fund — created to make campus safer for all students, faculty and staff. The Senior Class Gift Council — composed of seven students — has announced a dollar-for-dollar match for the first $5,000 donated to the Fund provided by the university.
According to an email announcement from the Senior Class Gift Council, the UW Tacoma Life Savers Fund was created in honor of the 2018 class and is “dedicated to the purchase, installation and training associated with life-saving resources on campus.”
The gift is the most recent in a legacy which has previously included the steel W at the top of the Grand Staircase and the clock in William W. Philip Hall.
Chris Burd — former Army medic, president of Student Veterans at UW Tacoma and member of the 2018 Senior Class Gift Council — said the main purpose of the fund is to assist in the installation of automated external defibrillator devices across campus.
AED devices are potentially life-saving machines for those experiencing a cardiac event such as a heart attack, and are commonly installed in public places. According to the American Heart Association, AEDs are portable devices which are used to deliver an electric shock to the heart — with a built-in computer and voice prompts to be simple to use.
One motivation for installing AEDs on campus was the death of a student due to heart attack in 2017. Burd explained that having an AED device near that student could have potentially saved their life — since the student had to walk to the campus health clinic to get help.
“We wanted to do something that would be small but impactful,” Burd said. “It’s about keeping our campus safe for all of our future students.”
Educating and training students about what to do in case of an emergency is another aspect associated with the Life Savers Fund. Safety Week — planned for the final week of May — will include activities designed to teach students, faculty and staff what to do in the event of an emergency situation.
Thomas Duke, head of Alumni Relations and the Annual Giving Officer at UWT, was instrumental in the formation of the Life Savers Fund.
“Each year I form a Senior Class Gift Council, and with their leadership, create a fundraising campaign to support a legacy project or fund in their honor,” Duke said.
He said the best way for students to participate in the 2018 Senior Gift is to contribute financially.
“Students have a number of opportunities to support this effort,” Duke said. “Student callers have reached out to all graduating students of the Class of 2018, a fundraising email campaign has been ongoing since the beginning of May, or they can could contribute online when completing their cap and gown [preferences] for Commencement.”