United Way Campaign at uOttawa raises $254K

Posted on Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Julie Vaillancourt, United Way Campaign Manager was one of two Masters of Ceremonies for the evening benefit show along with Irfan Manji, Community Advisor, Housing Service.

By Brandon Gillet

Contortionists, singers, dancers – all played their part in raising $254,424 for the Campagne Centraide uOttawa United Way Campaign.

This year’s campaign, which was officially launched in October, found new ways to raise funds for the United Way while bringing staff and students together to create a sense of community on campus.

On her knees, Elodie Paquin writhes her body until she touches the undersides of her feet.

Élodie Paquin is an arts student, a contortionist and an acrobat. Members of the audience were impressed with the quality of her act, which drew comparisons to the Cirque du Soleil. She performed at noon and evening shows.

Although the final numbers are not yet in, the uOttawa campaign has reached at least 81% of its $315,000 target for 2015. According to campaign organizer Julie Vaillancourt, most of these funds were raised through automatic donations, but students and staff brought the campaign to life with a series of memorable campus events.

“We rock as an institution,” said Vaillancourt. “We see a lot of dedication and innovation.”

The launch event on October 27 was a great success: it drew over 100 guests, including Ottawa City Councillor Mathieu Fleury, United Way Ottawa VP (Resource Development) Carol Gagnon, and uOttawa Board of Governors member Michel Picard.

“The event was very well-received and attended,” said Vaillancourt.

On November 18, a new type of fundraiser was inaugurated: two benefit events that showcased the talents of students and staff were organized with help from Community Life Services. The two shows featured a contortionist, song-and-dance numbers, and displays by talented Theatre Department professor Jonathan Lockhart.

“I had such fun co-leading this event and it made the campaign visible,” said Vaillancourt. “It even drew in people from outside the university; one person drove in from Montreal to see their student perform.”

This year’s campaign also featured a new donation option. President Allan Rock suggested that the Campaign broaden the range of charities supported, so the campaign added the possibility of donating to Health Partners, a consortium of 16 national health charities. In addition to good causes such as these, and the “three pillars” of the United Way, donors could also choose to support University of Ottawa students directly by contributing to funds that provide emergency relief to students in need.

The uOttawa United Way Campaign continues to be one the biggest of its kind in Ottawa and is expected to rank among the top five local United Way campaigns in 2015. The campaign consistently raises over $300,000 annually, thanks to the dedication of participants and the generosity of donors.

Student of the Faculty of Arts Prodil Houanhou performs a song while playing the guitar.

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