The Student Alumni Association (SAA), in partnership with the Advancement Office, hosted Philanthropy Week from March 11-15, 2019.
This annual Alma College student-led event, now in its fourth year, occurs at the symbolic point in the semester at which philanthropic gifts cover the difference between student tuition and the remaining annual operating expenses for the college. Students lead educational and service opportunities throughout the week to elevate campus awareness of and appreciation for the generosity of the college’s alumni, parents and friends.
“Fostering awareness and gratitude provide the basis for building a culture of engagement and philanthropy,” says Matt vandenBerg ’02, vice president for advancement. “Philanthropy Week activities highlight and celebrate the numerous benefits our entire campus community — faculty, staff and students — enjoy through the generosity of others.”
The week’s social media outreach included a one-day “takeover” of the college’s Instagram account. During the takeover, SAA members highlighted the number of endowed scholarships, professorships, grants, awards and programs supported by gifts to the college.
Philanthropy Week also included the placement of large bows and tags on campus buildings funded by philanthropy, a scavenger hunt for candy bars wrapped with philanthropy facts hidden around campus, a thank you banner signing that collected more than 200 signatures and the launch of a donor thank you video contest.
“When you come to Alma as a student you don’t realize the significant role alumni and donors play in the life of the college,” says Maddie McDonnell ’21. “Philanthropy Week helps you appreciate how much love and devotion people have for this place.”
Philanthropy Week also coincided with the two-week spring phonathon, staffed by student callers and resulting in more than $54,000 in gifts and pledges from alumni, family and friends of the college. In all, educational programming, phone calls and social media reached more than 8,000 members of the Alma College community.
Philanthropy Week is one of many collaborative programming efforts the SAA organizes each year. The SAA encourages students to take interest in the progress of the college; promotes relationships with alumni, parents and other college constituents; and fosters leadership in all facets of campus life. Through their efforts, the SAA aims to develop an even more cohesive, achievement-oriented and loyal student population.