Campaign plan rises at Cal State East Bay

Kali Persall,
Managing Editor

A new fundraising campaign at Cal State East Bay, called “Rising in the East,” aims to raise $60 million that officials say will increase student access to internships, mentoring and technology. The name was decided on after a slew of meetings and studies done by the university gauged the community interest over the past few years.

“A lot of people, even in our own backyard, didn’t know us,” Associate Vice President of University Communications Jeff Bliss said. Bliss said the name change to East Bay from Hayward more than 10 years ago was done with little promotion and many people didn’t know of the change.

Bliss also said that the university did a perception study they had to retool because many participants did not know which school Cal State East Bay was.The whole process, which started years ago, had three main objectives; a new website, a branding initiative and a comprehensive campaign.

The Office of University Advancement is working with the nonprofit organization Cal State East Bay Educational Foundation — made of up community members, alumni and philanthropists — as well as ASI and other student groups.

University Advancement is heading the campaign with Kathleen Brady, East Bay’s associate vice president for development for University Advancement, and Tanya Hauck, vice president of University Advancement and president of East Bay’s Educational Foundation, at the helm. University Advancement is composed of 31 members and is responsible for the branding, positioning and marketing of East Bay.

The campaign has raised $34.3 million so far, but hopes to reach the $60 million goal by June 2019, to correspond with the school’s 60th anniversary, according to Kathleen Brady, East Bay’s associate vice president for development for University Advancement.

Rising in the East is the university’s first “comprehensive campaign,” one designed to raise money for a wide variety of projects and improvements, rather than focusing on a single department or project, according to Hauck. A portion of the proceeds from the campaign kick-off ticket sales will fund 60 scholarships of $1,000 each, According to a statement by President Leroy Morishita at the university’s Fall convocation

Hauck said the initial idea for the idea to raise such a large sum was launched in 2009 but was slow to pick up speed due to various leadership transitions within the department and lingering effects of the recession that impacted the economy in 2008. For the past two years, Hauck and Brady have been working to bring it back to life by reaching out to philanthropists in the community.

The name was decided by University Advancement after surveying an unknown number of students, faculty and staff over the period of a year. “Rising in the East” is a play on words, corresponding to the increase in campus diversity and rising student numbers. This fall quarter, there were 16,000 new incoming students, according to Brady. Last year, the Chronicle of Higher Education’s Almanac ranked East Bay as the most diverse student body in the state, and the fifth most diverse in the nation.

The initial goal of the campaign was $50 million, but was increased to $60 million because 2019 will be the 60th anniversary of Cal State East Bay, explained Hauck.

The funds will be allocated for a variety of projects, such as the construction of a “collaborative learning center” at the heart of campus, said Hauck. The center would conceivably offer internships and mentorship for students and function like a library, with more emphasis on technology and digital tools instead of books and communal spaces for students to work together. Hauck said she envisioned the space as being “futuristic” and the “antidote to the internet.”

The center would be funded through a bond issued through the chancellor’s office and $10 million of the campaign money, according to Hauck. East Bay’s facilities department is currently working with an architect to map the potential location of the center.

East Bay’s College of Science will also see funds to help with renovations. According to Hauck, $2.5 million has been raised for this project. Approximately $8 million have also been raised for scholarships.

The campaign also involves a rebranding of the campus, which includes the mural in student parking lot A on campus, an updated website and digital billboards on both directions of the Bay Bridge and at BART stations in Hayward and San Francisco, which picture East Bay students against a sunrise backdrop, according to Hauck.

The branding efforts were funded in part by $300,000 in sponsorships and the rest by money from the state.

Hauck said that University Advancement is focusing on reaching out to the larger philanthropic community and individual alumni as a strategy for raising the remaining funds