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Campus & Community

Save Mario With 24 Hours of Impact

May 9, 2016

One of the "Have you seen this dragon?" coffee sleeves being distributed as part of the Day of Giving.

During Alumni Weekend, beloved mascot Mario the Magnificent went missing! Grainy security footage showed him walking away with two men in black suits and he hasn't been seen since. His current whereabouts are unknown. The only information coming in is on the hashtag #Drexel24.

To track him down, the CIA — that’s Central Institutional Advancement — are opening up their ranks for one day only. On May 10, anyone can be an agent, receive secret messages and help find Mario before the end of the day. The CIA believes that if they can gather 600 agents within 24 hours, they’ll have enough eyes on the ground to guarantee Mario will be found.

Who could possibly benefit from all of this? Why, Drexel itself.

Mario’s kidnapping and the espionage-themed games that go along with it are all part of Drexel’s first Day of Giving: 24 Hours of Impact.

“We haven’t done anything like this before,” said Andi Bricklin, associate director of digital marketing for the Office of Institutional Advancement. Coming up with a way to engage current students, faculty, staff and alumni seems like it would be a challenge. But the creative team came up with the idea rather quickly.

“When we started this back in October, our first mission was to come up with a theme,” Bricklin said. “So we started to write down some buzzwords. The second word I wrote down was ‘24.’ The team said ‘Jack Bauer,’ and I said, we can all go home now.”

The rest of the concept fell into place just as easily. Donors would be referred to as agents, all taking part in this mission. When you sign on the website to become a donor, you are making your CIA agent ID card. You can then upload your picture onto this card and share it on social media. It doesn’t say how much you gave, but it says what you gave to. If you have a special message, you can “decrypt” your message. If you want to remain anonymous, your card will have you as “incognito.”

Throughout the day, videos will be released featuring Director of Athletics Eric Zilmer discussing the history of the Drexel Dragon, Women’s Basketball Coach Denise Dillon with a heartfelt plea for Mario's return and the ExCITe center’s Brian Smith, PhD, describing his newly built “dragon detector.”

A live experience will be in the tent on the Drexel Quad from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., with caricature artists, free pretzels and a prize wheel. Students who don’t give a donation can still get an agent card at this event, filling out their name, their class year and what they feel their impact on Drexel is. These will all go onto a banner that will show what being a student at Drexel is all about. The banner will be displayed at the Trustees’ dinner that evening.

Much like a true manhunt where every agent counts, the focus on this day of giving is not how much you give, but that you’re a part of the team.

“We’re focusing on the number of donors who accept the challenge,” Bricklin said. “It shows confidence in the university.”

And it’s only through that confidence that we’ll be able to rescue Mario!