In 38 minutes, a GroupMe of 148 people managed to raise enough money to fund their friend’s Aggie Ring.
On Sept. 5, economics senior Michael Murray was driving to College Station from Houston with his girlfriend, Makensie Cowart. While in the car, Cowart made a GroupMe, unbeknownst to Murray, to help raise money to pay for his Aggie Ring.
“Mike is having to pay for his tuition and housing this year, so he cannot afford his ring right now,” Cowart said in the GroupMe. “Mike is one of those friends that is always there for anybody who needs him, so let’s all be there for him and help him buy his Aggie Gold!”
In just over half an hour, the people added to the GroupMe and raised the $1,088 needed for Murray’s ring.
Nutrition junior Valerie Dobard, a friend of Murray’s who was a part of the GroupMe, said he had been working non-stop to pay for tuition, and his friends knew funding his ring would be difficult. Dobard said it was not a hard decision to donate to the cause.
“Mike has such a unique heart and he would do anything for anyone,” Dobard said. “It sucked for all of us to see that he couldn’t get the one thing that he always wanted, so it was easy for us to give money. We knew that if it was the other way around, he would do that in a heartbeat for us.”
On that same day, Murray went to The Association of Former Students to order his Aggie Ring. Murray said he intended to set up a payment plan and was very stressed. To his surprise, when he walked up the stairs at the Alumni Center, a group of his friends were waiting for him.
“My girlfriend handed me an envelope saying it was from everyone,” Murray said. “I didn’t know what was going on, so I opened up the letter. Inside was an envelope of cash to pay for my ring and a letter with everyone’s names who had donated … I couldn’t help but cry.”
Murray said there were even some people who he didn’t know very well that had donated. He said it was a joyful experience to see so many people care for him and give selflessly to him.
“I definitely felt relief and 100 percent joy,” Murray said. “I just felt so lucky to be able to order my ring and to have such a great group of friends to be willing to help me out like that when I didn't even ask them to.”
Kathryn Greenwade, vice president for communications and human resources at the Association of Former Students, said Aggie ring fundraisers are very common, but rarely are they totally funded by students. The Association itself offers various ring scholarships and other forms of aid that students can apply for.
“It seems that every ring day there is a story like Mike’s, where Aggies have rallied around each other and helped one of their own,” Greenwade said. “I think it’s a true testament to the Aggie Spirit and our loyalty to one another.”
Murray said seeing other Aggies come together to help him without him even asking exemplified what it means to be an Aggie.
“This just perfectly exemplifies how people care about each other at A&M,” Murray said. “Being an Aggie is going above and beyond for someone. I’m eternally grateful for that.”
Dobard created a video that included Murray’s friends talking about him and showed his reaction to receiving the money for his ring. It can be found at https://twitter.com/valerie_dobard/status/1169807902393143297.