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Monday, January 21, 2019

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Strive, the university's crowdfunding initiative, raised more than $92,000 in 2017. Strive, the university's crowdfunding initiative, raised more than $92,000 in 2017.

A Team Effort

Strive, the university's crowdfunding initiative, demonstrates the importance of small gifts.
By Coleen L. Geraghty

In a year when San Diego State University capped its first major fundraising campaign to the sum of $815 million, a successful parallel effort demonstrated the importance of smaller gifts.

Strive, the university's crowdfunding initiative, raised more than $92,000 in 2017 for 47 individual student, faculty and staff initiatives. Although each project sets a relatively small fundraising goal—generally several hundred dollars, but sometimes as much as $20,000—its ultimate success or failure often depends on crowdfunding.

A successful effort

One of Strive’s most successful efforts this year raised $15,650 to support international field experiences for students in SDSU’s Graduate School of Public Health.

Students enrolled in the VIIDAI class travel to Colonia Lomas de San Ramon in Baja Norte, Mexico, as part of Viajes Interinstitucional de Integración Docente, Asistencial y de Investigación (VIIDAI), a program with a 20-year record of health outreach and service.

During their week-long experience, the students assess the health needs of the community through door-to-door surveys, focus groups, interviews and insights from community leaders. Data from the assessments leads to targeted interventions locally.

“VIIDAI is the perfect blend of community engagement, student involvement and initiative, research, and healthcare services,” said Lorena Pacheco, a fourth-year epidemiology doctoral student who has been involved with VIIDAI since 2011. “It has been incredible to witness the evolution of this program and the impact it has had on the community.”


Among VIIDAI’s successes was an intervention to combat the persistent anemia suffered by nearly half of the colonia’s women and children. VIIDAI faculty and students determined the root of the problem to be poor diet and nutrition as well as intestinal parasites related to lack of sanitation.

At the suggestion of community leaders, VIIDAI participants worked with five San Diego-based Rotary clubs and the Ensenada Rotary to build a state-of-the-art school kitchen and introduce healthy recipes to parents and school cooks. The result was a 50 percent decline in anemia after just a few years.

In 2018, VIIDAI staff and students will help the community install a water treatment technology to purify the colonia’s water supply.

“The goal of the VIIDAI program is to help the community become self-sufficient through medium- and long-term educational programs,” said Stephanie Brodine, a professor and director of the Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics in SDSU’s Graduate School of Public Health.

Essential for the future

The Strive crowdfunding initiative for VIIDAI resulted in gifts from the Rotary Club of Old Mission San Diego; Julie Dillon (’76), a member of The Campanile Foundation, and her husband Jim Roberts; the Nelson Foundation; and alumni of the VIIDAI program.

“These gifts are essential to the future of VIIDAI,” said Brodine, who heads up SDSU’s participation in VIIDAI, partnering with faculty from the University of California, San Diego, and Mexico’s Universidad Autónoma de Baja California (UABC).