Barry McNamara  |   Published October 23, 2016

Crowdfunding

Monmouth’s new trio of projects, funded by micro-donations, announced
  • The three projects being funded by the Inspire crowdfunding campaign are (clockwise from top-left): Global Food Security program in Ghana, event streaming technology for Dahl Chapel and Auditorium, and a new roaster for the Monmouth Coffee Project.
To make an impact, gifts to Monmouth College don’t necessarily have to fund a large project. Collectively, a lot of smaller gifts also have the power to turn big ideas into reality.

That is the concept behind crowdfunding, an online resource for connecting alumni and friends with students and faculty who seek support for academic and cocurricular opportunities.

This year’s crowdfunding aims to fund three Monmouth College projects – an off-campus experience in Ghana related to the Global Food Security Triad; new equipment for the Monmouth Coffee Project; and technology that will enable the College to live-stream events from the Dahl Chapel and Auditorium. The campaign, which runs through Nov. 23, can be viewed at Inspire

“Our crowdfunding campaign will allow us to accept micro-donations toward a larger fundraising goal, creating community engagement in the process,” said Director of Alumni Engagement Hannah Maher. “Each project will have a mini-campaign page on the web with more details about the project, an informational video and other updates. Gifts and donors are calculated live and you can see at any moment the real-time progress toward each goal.”

Monmouth’s Global Food Security Initiative, launched in 2013 as the first project of the College’s innovative Triad program, brings together faculty from three academic disciplines to work collaboratively to critically examine a problem of great societal importance and to creatively develop solutions that address the problem. As part of the initiative, a study-abroad program is being developed in Accra, Ghana. It will give about six students the opportunity to take a class at the University of Ghana, spend a week in a rural village, and take part in research in the social or natural sciences.

The Global Food Security program will pay for a majority of the study-abroad expenses. Crowdfunding donations will support students’ direct costs.

Academic disciplines also come together with the Monmouth Coffee Project, which was initially funded by a $4,200 gift to the College. Administered by chemistry professor Brad Sturgeon, the project allows students to , smell and taste the science of coffee production.

Although students are not paid for their work, they are exposed to all aspects of running a small entrepreneurial business and course credit can be earned. A unique educational experience, the Monmouth Coffee Project sells its product to the campus bookstore and three local businesses.

If the goal of $5,090 is reached, the funds will be used to add a two-pound roaster to the College’s nutrition lab. The two-pound roaster will increase production, add more local clients, and allow for the one-pound roaster to be converted to a propane-fired burner so it can be used at farmers markets and other outdoor venues.

The third project will reach a broad audience – parents, alumni and the local community. By equipping Dahl Chapel with remote cameras and video-streaming equipment, the College will be able to show live events from the campus’ oldest building. Events to be streamed include Honors Convocation, Baccalaureate, weekly chapel services, concerts and guest speakers. The videos will also be archived online.

Monmouth’s first year of crowdfunding was held in 2015. It supported a 3-D printer for the theatre department, assisted the Chorale with its spring performance tour of Italy and provided a multi-sport instructional space in the Huff Athletic Center.
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