How high is the RAINN, mama? $300,000 and rising.
In unquestionably the most difficult week in the 156-year history of the university, it often felt like the water was five feet high and rising. It has been said that Penn State alumni have a special connection to the university, one that exists at few (if any) other institutions in the world.
The side effect of that connection is that our emotions are inextricably (and perhaps irrationally) linked to the university. When the institution triumphs, we all do. When the institution falters, our hearts break.
The tragedy that is the Jerry Sandusky saga has forced the alumni who so proudly call themselves Penn Staters to run the gamut of emotions - disbelief, disgust, fear, anger, resentment. Perhaps above all else, a seemingly infinite sadness. Yet from that sadness has emerged a community determined not to be bound by the shackles of these events.
The Penn State family has raised $315,001 for child abuse victims since we first publicized the Proud to Be a Penn Stater initiative (#ProudPSUforRAINN) on Thursday afternoon. The BSD community has been a leader in spreading the word through Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking. Yesterday's game was a special moment for all of us, but let's stay vigilant. There is still more work to do. We are less than $200,000 away from our goal - it's time to push us past the finish line. Give. Seriously. Give now. Buy the shirt. Then give again.
I spoke with Jerry Needel, the leader of Proud to Be a Penn Stater, this morning. He is tremendously grateful for all of the support from the BSD family. The fundraiser has been a remarkable (and virtually unexpected) success. The Penn State Alumni Association and its local chapters have publicized it to their respective membership. Jerry will be promoting the campaign on both Anderson Cooper and Dr. Drew this week. Other universities and fan bases are getting involved as well - the University of Minnesota is on board, and HuskerMax.com has gotten three Heisman Trophy winners from the University of Nebraska to sign a helmet that will be auctioned off on eBay. All proceeds will go to #ProudPSUforRAINN.
Through all of these efforts, the Penn State family has shown that it will not merely be identified with the scandal of the past eight days. Thank you for your support. Thank you for your generosity. And once again, thank you for showing that WE (still) ARE . . .