Harnessing the Power of ‘Thank You’
Students take the reins on building a campus culture of philanthropy
As a student, my mission is to learn. As an alumna, my calling will be to give back. But it is in the blurring of those lines that the magis is present in its purest form.
As a student worker in Alumni Relations, SJU Gives senior class gift committee member and long-standing Student Alumni Association (SAA) member, I have had the outstanding privilege of witnessing the power of philanthropy within the alumni, donor and student networks and have been forever humbled by it. The passion and devotion of alumni who mentor students or support the University through generous financial gifts stand as an inspiring model for students.
“For it is in giving that we receive.” – St. Francis
During flapitude Week (February 23 – 27), the SAA called for students to show their gratitude by reflecting on and telling our benefactors why they love SJU. “I Love SJU Day” invited students to gather and express on whiteboards the reasons they hold Saint Joseph’s near and dear to their hearts. At first, I wasn’t sure if setting up a table in the atrium of the John R. Post ’60 Academic Center between classes would pull in the participation we hoped for, but at the start of free period, I watched students form a line, excited for the opportunity to share their passions.
When it was my turn, I wrote “Communications Department” because changing my major enabled me to pursue my greatest strengths and build my confidence within a field I hope to pursue after graduation. As our Communications Department has grown – only officially becoming a major during my time here – I have grown along with it.
While I watched students write the reasons they love SJU, from athletics, student organizations and academic departments, to amazing friendships, I was in awe of how many different meanings Hawk Hill held for people. Acknowledging how much we receive from Saint Joseph’s makes us aware of how much we have to give.
Later that week at “Thank a Donor Day,” students wrote cards thanking donors for the experience they have received. Once SAA members explained to students what our purpose was, they didn’t hesitate to write a card.
I wrote a thank you letter about how the generosity of donors allowed me this opportunity. When deciding between schools, the academic scholarship Saint Joseph’s offered was a large component of my ultimate decision to enroll.
From the buildings we learn in to the scholarships we receive, every inch of our SJU journey has been lined with the thoughtfulness and generosity of previous Hawks and friends of the University. flapitude Week was the formal acknowledgment of that fact and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to participate.
Student philanthropy means going beyond being a student and engaging in this selfless community, living out the magis. As Hawks, we are called to strive to better ourselves and for the greater good. Student philanthropy is a step toward living by the mission of St. Ignatius and it starts by bettering our Crimson and Gray community. Because for as many reasons as there are to love SJU, there are reasons to say “thank you.”
– Emily Marussich ’15