“I Love the Hill” Month kicks off annual campaign

The annual fundraising and spirit campaign kicked off February 1 outside of Englar Dining Hall to engage students, faculty, and staff. Photo courtesy of McDaniel College.

McDaniel’s fourth annual I Love the Hill celebration kicked off the start of February outside Englar Dining Hall with students, faculty, and staff writing love notes to the college in exchange for this year’s edition of the “I Love the Hill” t-shirt.

Once filled out, the green hearts containing the mash notes to McDaniel get posted throughout the campus for everyone to enjoy.

The campaign, which lasts through the end of the month, aims to bring together students, alumni, parents, faculty, staff, and friends of the college by sharing why they love the Hill and support the campus community.

“We all love the Hill for various reasons, and these reasons unite us as one community,” said Executive Director of Advancement Engagement Christina Steinbrenner. “We ask everyone to share their love for the Hill by filling out a heart to be displayed on campus.”

Efforts with the hearts have proven to be one of the college’s most successful engagement campaigns: more than 800 hearts have come in after just two events this year. Last year, over 600 were received in the first six days, and more than 1,100 were collected in 2016.

“Over the last several years, we’ve received thousands of heartfelt messages,” said Steinbrenner. “Alumni have written about meeting spouses, lifelong friendships, and faculty who changed their lives.”

Many alumni who cannot make it to campus or to one of many regional alumni events with hearts throughout the month will mail them in or share them on social media using the hashtag #ilovethehill.

But it’s not just alumni who can appreciate their time on the Hill, explained Steinbrenner.

Students can write about their transformative experiences here on the Hill, friendships with roommates and teammates, and their love of things like chicken tender Thursdays, she said.

“I love how it brings everyone together,” said junior Lacey Utz. “It brings to light what we love about the school and the opportunities we get which is why alumni give more money.”

According to Steinbrenner, the College has raised nearly $1 million during every February since the campaign was launched in 2015.

“Each year we ask alumni and friends of the College to show some love to the Hill through gifts to the Fund for McDaniel, which supports areas of greatest need at the College,” she said.

Mutual involvement from students and alumni allows for all members of the community to connect with one another.

“Alumni get to see how we view the school and they get to remember what they loved to see the continuation of it,” said Utz.

The support for the College extends beyond cash donations. As was true last year, several Westminster businesses are offering discounts to students, which will be distributed over email in the coming days.

I Love the Hill month comes with a special twist this year that separates it from the first three years.

“This year’s I Love the Hill materials were designed in McDaniel’s new branding,” said Steinbrenner. “This includes the colors and fonts, and even the heart on the T-shirt.

The school’s new branding has yet to be officially released, but the Communications and Marketing Department used the Feb. 1 kickoff event to advertise the Feb. 14 launch date that would give students the opportunity to “fall in love with McDaniel again.”

Students, faculty, and staff interested in getting involved still have two more opportunities. Remaining dates to fill out a heart and get a T-shirt include Feb. 13 and 21 outside of Englar Dining Hall from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.