Challenge Accepted

Kayla Freemon had never heard of Give-N-Day when she transferred to Nicholls State University in Fall 2018. Two years later and she has been the single most successful individual fundraiser for the event.

She learned about Give-N-Day when she became a fundraiser for Sigma Gamma Rho, the sorority she had helped revive. Her sisters asked her to go to the meeting and see what she could learn.

“I went to a meeting, and I was listening to everything they were saying. What really caught my attention were the challenges,” the New Orleans native says. “I knew this is how I could help my chapter.”

It was time to put her graphic design and networking skills to use. With only a few members that spring, Sigma Gamma Rho won four challenges and was among the top organizations in number of donations. They were so successful that Freemon got the chance to pie Nicholls President Dr. Jay Clune in the face.

“Kayla is an impressive young lady who has demonstrated tremendous leadership ability with her work with the Nicholls Give-N-Day,” says Nicholls Foundation Executive Director Jeremy Becker (BS ’95, MBA ’97). “Not only has she been able to set fundraising milestones for her organizations, but she is a key contributor to the overall Give-N-Day committee in helping to make the event a great success.”

The success continued in 2020. Sigma Gamma Rho received 83 donations in 2020, the second most of all organizations, and their $1,752 raised was 16th most. They also won or placed second in five challenges, bringing in an additional $900. On her own, Freemon raised more than $500. The sorority’s account grew from less than $100 in 2018 to nearly $2,500.

“We don’t do this for ourselves. Everything we do goes back into Nicholls and the community.” – Kayla Freemon

“I get so excited when Give-N-Day happens. I know that I helped do this, I helped raise this money,” she says. “This shows I can help somebody. I think about making sure that those who come after me are set, that they can keep this going year after year.”

Give-N-Day is important to student organizations, especially Black student organizations, because it gives them the same opportunity as others to raise money.

“It was either we try to fundraise by making our mark on bake sales, or let’s take advantage of Give-N-Day and the challenges and work as hard as we can,” Freemon says. “(Black student organizations) haven’t always had the same opportunities as our peers on campus. But Give-N-Day makes sure that everybody gets seen. It allows us to get our name out there.”

And every penny raised is put back into the community through initiatives such as Operation Big Bookbag, which gives school supplies to students and teachers, or the women’s wellness program, Galentine’s Day. Freemon says they have also talked about partnering with the Bayou Country Children’s Museum, adopting a school and hosting an event for Breast Cancer Awareness Month in the future.

“We don’t do this for ourselves. Everything we do goes back into Nicholls and the community,” she says. “Eventually, we would like to use some money to fund members to go to conferences, but right now we believe our biggest impact can be felt right here in the community.”
– Jacob Batte


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