DMC Foundation's rappelling event creates buzz, nets over $45,800 for students
Article by: Michael Bratten
The mood was jovial as Dr. Mark Escamilla stood on the roof of a 22-story hotel in downtown Corpus Christi, preparing to climb over the side. There was even a joking reference to the Tom Petty song, “Free Fallin’.”
I’ve done rappelling before but not at this height. I wasn’t quick to volunteer when this idea came up. But a challenge came my way and I couldn’t say no. I’m always up for an adventure when it comes to raising money for students.
Escamilla’s feat garnered $11,900 for student scholarships, surpassing a goal he set for himself of $10,000. He was part of a procession of 26 people who, during a recent two-day period, rappelled down the side of the hotel in a fundraising partnership with Over the Edge, a company that stages the event for non-profits all over the country.
When it was over, more than $45,800 was raised for scholarships at Del Mar by college leaders, staff members and supporters who took the plunge. Each rappeller raised at least $1,000 in donations to participate.
“It was an excellent fundraiser because it was so different,” said Mary McQueen, executive director of Development and the Del Mar College Foundation. “Not only did we create excitement about the event and Del Mar College, we got people involved in fundraising for our students. It really expanded our reach in the community and created new partnerships.”
Del Mar promoted the event months in advance through news releases, social media posts and a website banner, and a day was set aside for members of the news media to rappel. Some TV reporters participated, resulting in extensive local coverage and fueling the buzz.
Rappelling is kind of a metaphor for our students who are the first in their family to attend college. It’s about taking that first step and going over the edge. It sets them on course for the rest of their lives.
Even a passerby visiting the city made an on-the-spot decision to scratch rappelling off his bucket list.
“He was more than happy to pay $1,000 knowing he was sponsoring scholarships,” McQueen said.
McQueen added that plans are underway to repeat the event next year.
Del Mar College empowers students to achieve their dreams. We offer quality programs, individual attention, outstanding instruction through faculty with real-world experience and affordable costs to credit and noncredit students in Corpus Christi and the South Texas Coastal Bend area. Nationally recognized while locally focused, we’re ranked in the top two percent of community colleges in the country granting associate degrees to Hispanic students (Community College Week). Del Mar College focuses on offering our students programs that match current or emerging career opportunities. Whether students are interested in the fine arts, sciences, business, occupational or technical areas, students get the education they need for the future they want at Del Mar College.