Office of Development and Alumni Relations holds ‘Change Can’t Wait’ festival

The campaign hopes to inform AU families about its mission

Office of Development and Alumni Relations holds ‘Change Can’t Wait’ festival

AU community members learn about enrichment opportunities that are part of the Change Can’t Wait campaign at campaign impact stations

American University students and their families gathered on the quad on Oct. 8 for the Change Can’t Wait festival, an event  held to engage the community and inform them about AU’s $500 million fundraising initiative .

Alongside music and food, the festival showcased the goals of the Change Can’t Wait campaign with activities, campaign impact stations and research presentations. Leah Brady, the executive director of campaign engagement, said she hoped the event would help connect community members to the campaign’s mission.

“What we’re really hoping today, because we had to launch the campaign virtually, is to provide an opportunity to help our campus community and families understand what the campaign is all about, what we’re trying to do, and the impact that it’s already making for students on campus and beyond,” Brady said. 

Community members in attendance were able to learn about the different types of research and enrichment opportunities being funded by the campaign, play corn hole on the grass or grab food from a buffet or various food trucks. According to Internal Communications Manager with the Office of Communications and Marketing, Jasmine Pelaez,  the festival was paid for using funds from the university operating budget and meant to celebrate the AU community. 

Isabella Cvrk, a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences, said she thought the festival was both an entertaining and interesting way to kick off Family Weekend. 

“I like that there’s posters and I feel like parents can engage and the food’s good and the music is good,” Cvrk said. “My mom’s really interested in the posters and stuff on the informational walk.”

Students’ family members, like Christy Dentinger, also liked getting to know what kinds of opportunities there were available on campus for their students. “It’s really neat seeing all the different research and really giving us an idea of stuff she’s experiencing on the day to day,” she said. 

The festival is one of the many activities that AU organized as a part of Family Weekend. Bryn Hunter, who was visiting her daughter Lauren Hunter, a first-year in the College of Arts and Sciences, said she was happy to see all the families at the festival together, “It’s very lovely and impressive, and so nice to see all the parents,” Bryn said. “It was heartwarming to see some of the students reunite with their parents for the first time.” 

Brady said she hopes attendees walked away with a better understanding of AU’s mission and a feeling of connection to the school community.

“I hope that families feel like this is a place that is moving, and a wonderful match for their student — and I hope students feel the same,” Brady said. “And our faculty and staff who are also a large proportion of the donors and supporters, I hope they also feel good — that this is a community that’s important to be a part of and is really making change in the world.”

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