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SHINE Aims to Educate, Energize and Engage Students Through Philanthropy

SHINE Philanthropy Council, a new student organization on campus, is all about helping students. SHINE stands for Students Helping to Improve Needs Educate, and has three goals which comprise their mission statement. The group’s motto is Educate, Energize and Engage.

Kayla Harris, the founder and president of SHINE, is an Annual Fund Intern. Harris and her fellow staff members came up with the idea of the organization. 

Annual Fund is one of the departments in the Office of Development and University Relations. 

“It’s the general fundraising ‘account’ you could say,” Harris said. When people donate money to UT, their contributions go into the Annual Fund. Then that money goes to whatever the university needs most.” This includes wifi, money for student organizations and new technology for classrooms. 

“A lot of college kids don’t realize that most things, such as their scholarship, is a gift that came from someone else,” said Harris, a senior management information systems major.

The first goal of the organization is to educate students on where scholarships and buildings from UT come from. The second is to help students put on and organize fundraisers. Its last goal is to have a shine foundation so they can apply to the Annual Fund. If they are having financial trouble, such as not having enough money for rent or groceries, they will be eligible for funds.

“Through SHINE, I hope to bring people together and let them know that as a student, you have the power to orchestrate fundraising in order to help other students who are in need of financial help,” Harris said.

Joycelyn Mahone, the assistant director of Annual Fund at UT and advisor for SHINE, is in charge of the phonathon on campus, as well as thanking donors. She tries to see if they would like to contribute more to the school. She is also in charge of student fundraising at UT. 

“I hope to really bring awareness of the donations that we get from the alumni, families and corporations to the student body,” Mahone said. “These donations aren’t just coming out of thin air. I think that SHINE is important because the UT community is a family, and you as a family member should want to help.”

Nzinga Lowe, a sophomore and the vice president of SHINE, said the organization is a work in progress and that they still have yet to plan more. 

“I’m so happy to be a part of SHINE because it means a lot to me personally,” Lowe said. “I’m so grateful for the donors to be able to have my scholarship. It’s about the fulfillment in having UT actually pay it forward. It’s getting us prepared for the real world because there is bound to be a time when we need someone. Most of us here are on scholarships, so I think it’s important to lend that helping hand.”

SHINE hosted its own philanthropy week last semester. The organization raised awareness by having different events on campus, such as a reception which  was held for students so that they could get the chance to thank donors. They were given papers and a list of names for them to write to. Their biggest event was their Not-So-Polar Plunge. The event was held at the pool where an abundance of raffles and food were offered. 

SHINE hopes to plan more events this semester, including Life After UT in partnership with Career Services. You can contact Kayla Harris at for more information. 

Madison Irwin can be reached at                        

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