KNOXVILLE – On Tuesday, November 20, several staff and students came together for Johnson University’s annual letter stuffing event.
Individuals throughout the gymnasium participated in filling envelopes, singing along to Disney and Christmas music, and playing games. The event was hosted by the Student Government Association from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
“Well, of course, the students are the ones who are the primary beneficiaries of the contributions that are given…One reason is it’s an opportunity for students to be a part of the school…and it’s also an expression of appreciation to those that work here,” Philip Eubanks said.
Currently, there are approximately 35,000 recipients on the mailing list. Each letter discusses the new opportunities presented for students through financial giving. They also encourage some to make a gift to the college. By taking a few hours out of their busy schedules, participants of letter stuffing are expressing their love for Johnson and their willingness to give back to those providing them an education or place of employment.
“The students knew that he [President Alva Ross Brown] was under a lot of pressure, and so in 1929 the senior class introduced the idea of a special Thanksgiving appeal,” said Eubanks.
The tradition of stuffing letters began at the dawn of the Great Depression following the stock market crash. Former president Brown encouraged the idea of each student sending out 10 letters each requesting a donation of one dollar to the school. The recorded amount of this offering reached 585 dollars. Each year the seniors continued to present an offering to put towards the campus.
Then and now, the generous giving of donors and the time commitment to package thousands of letters on-campus allows for Johnson to grow in their resources and in fellowship with one another.