“It was amazing to see how many people are affected by donors and how many people were happy to get the chance to thank them.” — Maggie Patterson.
Hand-written thank-you notes to donors, the placing of large bows on campus buildings funded by philanthropy, a student video contest and more highlighted Alma College’s third annual Philanthropy Week from March 12-16, 2018.
Sponsored by the Student Alumni Association (SAA) in partnership with the Advancement Office, Philanthropy Week encompasses student-led educational and service opportunities designed to elevate student awareness of and appreciation for the generosity of the college’s alumni, parents and friends. It is timed to mark the symbolic point in the semester at which tuition runs out and philanthropy begins to cover the operating expenses for the college.
“Students are at the heart of – and the reason for – our culture of philanthropy,” said Matt vandenBerg ’02, vice president for advancement. “During Philanthropy Week they gain a deeper appreciation for the impact of donor generosity in their own lives and in the life of the college. These educational experiences help complete the cycle of generosity and gratitude for all we receive.”
In addition to the writing of appreciation notes to college donors and the placing of “Brought to You by Philanthropy” tags on campus landmarks, the week’s events included a social media campaign and information table tri-folds in the food commons. Students were encouraged to locate candy bars, hidden across campus, with philanthropy facts attached to them. Faculty and staff wore “Philanthropy at Work” t-shirts. Lily Goodman, a first-year student from Marshall, won the video contest.
“It was amazing to see how many people are affected by donors and how many people were happy to get the chance to thank them,” said SAA member Maggie Patterson ’21.
A total of 314 students participated by writing thank you notes and signing a poster for scholarship donors. Educational programming directly impacted more than 5,000 members of the Alma College community, and donors provided $88,785 in gifts and pledges. Philanthropy Week also served as a kickoff to the two-week spring phonathon, which is staffed by student callers.
The SAA encourages students to take interest in the progress of the college, exposes them to the activities and goals of alumni and parents, and promotes leadership in all facets of campus life. Through these efforts, the SAA aims to “develop an even more cohesive, achievement-oriented and loyal student population.” Philanthropy Week is one of many collaborative programming efforts that the SAA organizes each year.