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Embry Riddle Turns to Crowdfunding to Help Finance Student Projects

In conjunction with National Philanthropy Day, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University has launched a crowdfunding Web site.

Embry-Riddle has two residential campuses in Arizona and Florida and additional satellite campuses around the world.

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University has launched a crowdfunding Web site to encourage alumni and supporters to fund some of the institution's latest initiatives.

Embry-Riddle officials and students hope to take advantage of social media to link potential donors to projects they are interested in, saving both time and money that traditional fundraising requires.

"This is a way for alumni, faculty, staff and friends to provide financial support directly to areas within the university that they care about most," said Bill Hampton, senior vice president for external relations and chief marketing officer. "Many initiatives and projects have immediate and substantial needs, and this tool allows donors to make a difference with the click of a button."

The crowdfunding site was launched Nov. 15, National Philanthropy Day, with seven projects that need funding:

  • A team of students at the Prescott, AZ, campus wants to be the first to ever launch a student-designed and built rocket to space.
  • Another student team at the Daytona Beach, FL, campus is in a national competition to redesign a 2016 Chevrolet Camaro into a plug-in hybrid vehicle.
  • A team in Prescott is working to engineer an electric vehicle that will compete for the E-1 class electric land-speed record.
  • The Worldwide College of Aeronautics wants to test small unmanned aircraft systems in order to develop a consumer buying guide.
  • A student team in Daytona Beach is building a mobile laboratory and space habit simulator out of a 1976 Airstream trailer.
  • With the Dreams Soar initiative, Embry-Riddle student and alumna Shaesta Waiz hopes to become the youngest woman to fly solo around the world.
  • Finally, the Name a Plane campaign gives donors an opportunity to name a Cessna 172 or Diamond Twinstar to support student flight teams.

While those are the initial projects the school hopes to fund, Hampton noted that there will be more as the site evolves.

"Any great project or idea is up for consideration," he said.

About the Author

Michael Hart is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and the former executive editor of THE Journal.

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