Followers of the MU crane raised more than $4,500 to build memorial statue.
The Oregon State University community has come together under an unlikely cause in the past month. The MU crane’s primary purpose is to aid construction on the new Student Experience Center building, which is adjacent to the Memorial Union.
Recently, it has become a campus celebrity, garnering more than 3,000 fans on the MU Crane official Facebook page.
Not long after its initial rise to fame, the coordinators and co-founders of the MU crane fan page initiated an IndieGoGo fundraising project. The goal was to raise $2,500 in 20 days, with hopes of building a statue to memorialize the crane’s temporary but strong presence on campus.
By the time the fundraiser ended Friday, the crane and its followers had raised $4,572. The final amount is 182 percent of the initial goal, and in the process, those funding the cause unlocked additional stretch goals that the “crane council” had set along the way.
Unlocked prizes include a “bro tank” option instead of the basic T-shirt, an MU Crane EP album, the “I Am the Crane” original card game and crane-inspired Valentine’s Day cards. All unlocked gifts will be available to donors of $20 or more.
Facebook page co-founder Michael McDonald, a senior in graphic design, said the crane council is hoping to get gift sets to donors by the end of February. The team plans to focus on the Valentine’s Day cards first in order to get them to donors by Friday.
McDonald and co-founder Zak Eidsvoorg, also a senior in graphic design, have been in contact with university administrators. Discussions have focused on timeframes for building the memorial statue, and long-term placement for the statue.
“We’re meeting with people this week to get things more nailed down so we can take these results and say, ‘Hey, this is real now,’” McDonald said. “There’s pretty much no reason and no people so far that have really come out against this thing and said no we can’t have this in the building.”
The crane council hopes the statue will be finished over summer and then placed somewhere in conjunction with the Student Experience Center.
Steve Clark, vice president for university relations and marketing, voiced his own support of the crane and its following.
“The building has been funded by students,” Clark said. “We want students to feel it’s their building and a place they can come to and feel like part of their home. So it’s exciting to see that kind of ownership.”
Most of the students involved with the Facebook page and fundraising project have been in awe over their successes in rallying the OSU campus around the image of the MU crane. Eidsvoorg said the fundraising success is remarkable following the lull in popularity after the crane’s initial 15 minutes of fame.
“It’s been great and it’s been really inspiring seeing that we can get this amount of traction for something so fun and silly with the right kind of motivation,” Eidsvoorg said.
After surpassing the fundraising goal, Eidsvoorg and McDonald said that much of the funds will still be going to the creation and payment for the memorial statue. Additional funds raised will go toward costs of production for the stretch goals that were unlocked at the various fundraising markers.
Though the funds have been raised to create the memorial statue, the crane itself will be leaving OSU campus in the near future.
“I know Andersen (Construction Company) wants to let us know maybe where the crane might be in the future, send us a photo or two,” McDonald said.
Eidsvoorg added that there may be a small gathering arranged so students can say farewell to the crane before it departs OSU’s campus.
“We always had kind of this idea of getting people together when (the crane) comes down,” Eidsvoorg said. “So I think that’s something we want to try and arrange.”