'Whatever I Can Do To Help'
Dan Ercolano ’85 is only slightly joking when he mentions his UD degree is in professional interviewing skills. As a student, the business management major would put on a tie and grab a résumé to share — even when he wasn’t looking for a job.
“When I was a junior on campus, I went to job interviews just for practice,” Ercolano said.
He credits Career Services with helping him land both his first and second jobs out of college. The experience reinforced for him the power of relationships and friendships and his future decision to become a human relations professional for Wegmans Food Markets in Rochester, New York.
Fast forward to last year, when Ercolano got a call from a classmate asking him to turn his gratitude into action to support today’s students.
Ercolano’s response: “Whatever I can do to help.”
He is one of 86 volunteers for the peer-to-peer ambassador program who will be reaching out to Flyers April 10 during One Day, One Dayton. It is the University’s first community-wide giving day, a focused effort and meaningful step toward bridging the affordability gap between the cost of college and a family’s ability to pay. The goal is 1,850 gifts — in honor of the year 1850, when the University was founded — in 24 hours.
There is power in connection. Tracy Meckstroth Krentzman ’04 said she’s seen it in the relationships she’s strengthened since college. She’s also seen it in her position as director of annual giving at Villanova University, which has hosted its own giving days.
Peer-to-peer networks are like spider webs, she said, with volunteers spreading and amplifying the good news of the university and encouraging others to engage. She’s crafting messages that she’ll send out to Flyer peers on social media, asking them to save the date and, on April 10, to extend the call to give to their networks.
“We are one Dayton, we are one community,” Krentzman said. “We all supported one another as students and now as alumni. We can be part of that continuing support.”
While alumni will be a big part of the day’s success, the campaign’s impact on UD students is the focus, said Tracie Johnson Jones ’08.
Take the cost of a college education. It can be the biggest hurdle for a prospective student to overcome. But it’s an easy problem to help address through a coordinated giving event like One Day, One Dayton.
“With help from alumni, students can instead focus on goals — and hang out on a porch,” Jones said.
Jones said she and her husband, Eric, focus their service efforts on education. As parents to Eleanor, who turns 1 this spring, they not only judge their impact by the work they do for today’s students but also by what they can accomplish for their daughter’s generation and beyond.
“I’m helping invest in their creativity and their passions, just like someone invested in me,” said Jones, a broadcast major who is now an IT business consultant for BJC HealthCare in St. Louis.
As a One Day, One Dayton volunteer, Jones said she’s adding her voice to an effort in which every person can realize the power of giving combined: “Let’s make an impact. Let’s make a splash.”