Published August 29, 2022

Rutgers joins One Big Week to advance the Scarlet Promise Initiative and increase opportunities for students.

In the world of higher education, what force is more powerful than a united Rutgers community?

Answer: the movement that takes place when a public research powerhouse like Rutgers joins with Big Ten conference partners to create change.

Supporting talented students has always been central to the mission of each Big Ten Institution. Now, the conference is harnessing its collective energy to reshape access to higher education and build new opportunities for students from all walks of life.

With the One Big Week movement, Rutgers and its Big Ten partners are highlighting an undeniable fact: that talented students exist in every zip code and income bracket, and that no student should be denied opportunities—or be forced to take on crushing loan debt—because of those differences.

For one week, from August 31 to September 7, donors across the nation can make a tremendous impact by supporting access to quality education and student services at their favorite Big Ten school. At Rutgers, the One Big Week movement focuses on the university’s Scarlet Promise Initiative to increase opportunities for Rutgers students and those planning to attend Rutgers.

The Scarlet Promise Initiative gathers together an array of programs and funds dedicated to encouraging students as they prepare for and access a Rutgers education—and to excel both during their student years and beyond. The initiative comprises programs and funds that provide direct need-based financial aid, emergency financial support, academic counseling, food security, career counseling, and more—programs that help find, foster, and support the talent of Rutgers students throughout New Jersey and around the world.

“There is no greater calling for university communities than to make sure our students can pursue an excellent, life-changing education and the extraordinary opportunities that can come with it,” said Rutgers University President Jonathan Holloway. The Scarlet Promise Initiative, which grew out of Holloway’s call for greater student support on his first official day in office, is designed to offset the realities of financing a college education today.

What does it look like to face those realities while pursuing a degree? Rutgers students receiving financial aid still have an average unmet need of more than $11,000 each year, totaling almost $400 million annually. Many wrestle with astonishing debt as they complete their degrees, often prolonging their studies well beyond the traditional four years of college. These factors limit career mobility and delay life milestones such as buying a home and starting a family.

That makes the Scarlet Promise all the more urgent. Rutgers can only fulfill this promise with philanthropic support from the full spectrum of the global Rutgers community—and through transformative movements like One Big Week. Only by acting together can the higher education community transcend the forces that historically have prevented many students from realizing their excellence and potential.

Together, the Rutgers community and the Big Ten community can produce a whole far greater than the sum of their parts. This is a hallmark of leadership—the recognition that we create more powerful change through collaboration, and that we owe it to future generations to do so.


To learn more and donate to One Big Week, visit