SUSK to launch virtual Koliada campaign

    Donated funds will go to participating Ukrainian student clubs

    Alexandra Holyk for New Pathway – Ukrainian News.

    The Ukrainian Canadian Students’ Union (SUSK) will be launching a virtual Koliada campaign during the month of January.

    The campaign is open to all Ukrainian post-secondary student organizations part of SUSK’s membership, which includes more than 25 university and college clubs across the country.

    “Many of our Ukrainian student organizations annually organize Koliada as a fundraiser…and are very dependent on that income in order to pay for their activities,” SUSK vice-president Devon Sereda Goldie said. “This year because of COVID-19…having groups of students going from home to home is just not feasible.”

    Sereda Goldie mentioned that SUSK president Roman Grod came up with the idea to hold a virtual Christmas carolling campaign after watching a virtual performance of Edmonton’s Viter Ukrainian Dancers and Folk Choir singing the Canadian national anthem.

    “It looked very much like a Zoom call—all the singers singing from their own individual homes,” Sereda Goldie said.

    The SUSK board of directors will also be taking part in the campaign, singing “Тиха Ніч” or “Silent Night.” However, SUSK alumni director Raissa Dzulynsky pointed out that the funds collected from donors to the campaign will strictly go toward the students’ clubs.

    “Through this campaign, we want our student organizations to know that SUSK is here to help in times of need,” she said.

    “The money that’s raised during the Koliada campaign will be split evenly amongst the Ukrainian student organizations that participate,” Sereda Goldie added. “Every single club that participates will benefit.”

    The initiative comes after SUSK held its Giving Tuesday campaign on Dec. 1. The organization raised $700—all of which going toward SUSK’s endowment fund.

    SUSK’s Endowment Fund

    “The money for the endowment fund will be going toward providing sustainability for SUSK long-term, helping to pay for our national coordinator who is our one staff person and for providing resources for our Ukrainian student organizations,” Sereda Goldie said.

    SUSK’s endowment fund was started in 2017 in an effort to uphold the organization using more than just its short-term financial resources. Due to its frequent turnover rate — student members are graduating annually — SUSK wanted sustainability to prevent it from falling apart.

    With its $1 million endowment goal, SUSK hopes to allocate $12,000 per year toward its student clubs for funding and support; $6,000 per year toward events, including its annual congress; and $6,000 per year toward its continuity by developing and maintaining its student membership.

    The Shevchenko Foundation manages the fund on SUSK’s behalf and provides donors with charitable tax receipts.

    “By creating this Designated Fund, SUSK has shown a high degree of commitment to the future of its organization and our community,” stated Lesia Szwaluk, the former executive director of the Shevchenko Foundation, on SUSK’s website.

    SUSK also has a Christmas card campaign taking place throughout the month of December.

    Dzulynsky said the cards will be mailed out to all of SUSK’s contacts either thanking them for their donations and support or with information about the endowment fund.

    In order to take part in the Koliada campaign, Ukrainian students’ clubs are asked to get in contact with their regional SUSK vice-presidents and submit their carolling videos by Dec. 15.

    Eight Ukrainian students’ clubs have signed up so far. They include students from McGill University, L’Université de Montréal, the University of Victoria, the University of Saskatchewan, McMaster University, the University of Ottawa, the University of Toronto and Carleton University.

    Those who donate to the campaign will be provided with a link to an unlisted YouTube playlist to view the carolling videos from the student clubs. Donations can be made through SUSK’s website.