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What will you promise to help a UC student in need?

Swim with great white sharks? Wear a tutu to work? Run a 100-mile trail race?

Those are just some of the amazing things that OP staff have promised to do, all in the name of raising UC student scholarship funds through the Promise for Education campaign.

The six-week social media campaign, which launched at the UC Regents meeting on Sept. 18, is simple. Individuals make a personal promise and set a crowdfunding goal ($50, $100, $1,000 or more). Then they share their promise through Facebook, email and other social media channels, and their contacts make donations to see them fulfill their pledge.

Here at the Office of the President, the campaign is proof positive of just how committed staff are to supporting UC students. Nearly 30 people have already made promises, from tutoring high school students to performing intense feats of endurance.

“Call me crazy, but I’ve made a Promise to run my first 100-mile trail race, Rio del Lago in the Sierra Foothills, in November to show my support for UC students,” wrote Patricia Osorio-O’Dea, deputy to the vice provost, in an appeal to friends, coworkers and family.

“I could use your support and encouragement as I train long hours to get to the finish line, but more important is your commitment to join my team and help me raise money for UC scholarships.”

With more than a month before the campaign ends Oct. 31, Osorio-O’Dea has already raised a third of her ambitious $5,000 target.

Across the UC system, the scholarship campaign has inspired hundreds of pledges and more than $900,000 in donations. All the proceeds will go directly to UC undergraduate students with a demonstrated financial need.

Among those who have joined the effort: Chancellors at every undergraduate campus, Gov. Jerry Brown, and celebrities Jamie Foxx, Matt Barnes, Wilmer Valderrama, Gabrielle Union, Sasha Alexander, filmmaker Catherine Hardwicke, and rapper and spoken word poet Watsky.

Students have come up with some of the most creative promises, but UCOP staff really shine for the civic-minded nature of their pledges. Here’s just a sampling:

  • David Alcocer, Student Financial Support Interim Director: Volunteer full-time for two weeks at my local Veterans Administration Hospital to help those who’ve served their country.
  • Vanessa Corrêa, Creative Director: Donate matching funds to the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
  • Charles Melton, Federal Governmental Relations Legislative & Communications Coordinator: Scuba dive with great white sharks off the coast of California.
  • Judy Sakaki, Student Affairs Vice President: Return to the Oakland Public Schools I attended to help students get excited about college.
  • Nathan Brostrom, CEO: Tutor in an Oakland school every month next year, grow a beard through the holidays, and lead UCOP employees on a monthly run around Lake Merritt.
  • Yvette Gullatt, Assistant Vice Provost: Provide 20 high school seniors with individual help on their UC personal statements.

You can see all the promises that others are making – or make one of your own – on the Promise for Education website or follow the campaign on Facebook.

Read more about the project on the UC Newsroom.

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