Op-ed: Will class gift raise alumni giving?

What can Temple do to increase the amount of graduates that donate to the university?

By Darin Bartholomew

A few weeks ago, The Temple News’ editorial board wrote a piece about alumni giving at Temple, and more specifically the base of donors. During the last few weeks, there have also been stories about both trustee and administrative plans to help expand the alumni donor base to make Temple more in-line with similar institutions and ultimately provide Temple with the funding needed to continue to compete as we climb in national prestige.

One of the first meetings our administration had just under a year ago was with the Office of Institutional Advancement to discuss permanently instituting an off and on tradition at Temple that is so treasured at other schools.

This tradition is the class gift.

The class gift is more than just a tradition and a way to better Temple: It is also a way for students to begin to understand and feel the importance of giving to the university. Since the donor participation rate is included in university ranking formulas, this can also help increase the value of our degree after graduation.

Students are only asked to give a few dollars – less than $20 – so this may not be seen by some as the massive economic boost that Temple needs to propel itself toward the donation bases of similar institutions. However, it is a cultural shift that is most easily made at the student level. As the alumni office continues to try and re-engage graduates with the university it is our moral duty as students to find a way to give back to the university that has given us so much. Temple is a very different place than it was even 10 years ago and the pride we have in our campus and our school is better than ever.

Through this pride, as well as with a small donation as a student, the class gift will begin to broaden the base that Temple is striving to expand. In a few years, we will hopefully be able to donate more and continue to be engaged and it all can begin for less than $20 as a senior. Not to mention that when we return as alumni, we will always have our gift to point to as the first contribution we made to our campus.

Darin Bartholomew is the student body president. He can be reached at darin.bartholomew@temple.edu.

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