West Virginia University hopes to raise at least $200,000 this fall for the United Way of Monongalia and Preston Counties. The campaign goal was announced today (Sept. 15) during a noon kick-off luncheon at Erickson Alumni Center.

The slogan for this years WVU campaignUnited Way Depends on WVU and WVU Depends on Youreflects the Universitys important role in United Way fund raising. Local campaign chair Stephen LaCagnin noted during a recent volunteer training session that WVU s contributions represent one-sixth of the overall campaign total for Monongalia and Preston Counties. The community goal for 2004 is $1.2 million.

This years WVU campaign chair, Susan Hardesty, said that in addition to increasing the amount collected last year (over $200,000) she hopes to increase the percentage of employees who contribute.

United Way assists 27 agencies in Monongalia and Preston counties which provide a variety of services to meet the needs of local area communities.

“I suspect that if employees look at the list of agencies that their United Way dollars will support, they will find at least one that has benefited them or a member of their family personally,Hardesty said.

Over the past several months, Hardesty has visited numerous deserving United Way health and human service agencies and believes thatevery dollar countsin helping them succeed.

Every donation, whether large or small, makes a difference and demonstrates that WVU is a caring institution,she said.

Contributions can be designated for specific agencies or employeespledges are allocated to the agencies according to the recommendations of a CitizensReview Committee and the United Ways board of directors. Giving is easy, she said. Employees return a completed pledge card to a departments or schools designated volunteer.

As an added incentive to give, names of first-time donors from all giving levels will be entered in a drawing for a $50 Radisson gift certificate, donated by Mrs. Hardesty and her husband, WVU President David C. Hardesty Jr. The employee volunteer who accepted the winners donation will also receive a $50 Radisson gift certificate.

In addition, employees who participate in the campaign for the first time this year, and who give at least $48, are eligible not only for the general prize drawing but also for a special prize drawing for two 50-yard line tickets to the WVU -University of Pittsburgh football game and two invitations to the pre-game brunch at Blaney House.

Both first-time and repeat donors who give at least $48 are eligible for the general prize drawing.

WVU students, through various fund raising efforts by student organizations, also will be contributing to the campaign. Last year WVU students raised almost $10,000.

The WVU campaign, part of the West Virginia State Employees Combined Campaign, continues through Oct. 31. For more information, go tohttp://www.wvu.edu/unitedway.