Like most college students, those who attend Temple are notorious for carrying empty wallets. We thrive off of Diamond Dollars and only spend when absolutely necessary.
In the April 2004 issue of Rolling Stone magazine, a State Farm Insurance advertisement showed a college student sitting in front of a TV eating a bowl of cereal. The ad said, “Cereal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner” and portrayed college kids as willing to do whatever they can to save the little money they have. True as this may be, Temple students are willing to spare some cash when presented with an honest cause.
Last month, I stood outside of the Student Center with two friends and one bright, pink poster, fundraising money for breast cancer research. With cups in hand, at times we yelled, “Donate money for breast cancer research,” but we made it a point not to pressure anyone into donating if they didn’t want to.
When we first started asking for money, we were afraid that no one would donate. After all, the phrase “spare change” is not in the average college student’s vocabulary. We were hesitant from the start, worried that we’d be walking back to our dorm rooms empty handed. This is when Temple students dismissed the stereotype that all college students are stingy with their money.
In an hour, we raised about $160 dollars; all to the credit of Temple University students and passing adults. Although college students have a reputation for being broke, Temple students wanted to give everything they had, even though it may have been next to nothing. People approached us and emptied their pockets, apologizing that they didn’t have more money to give. Kids poured out their pockets so quickly they unintentionally gave us SEPTA tokens with their donations. Students willingly gave their money when they saw it was for a genuine cause they wanted to be a part of.
Students gave money not only because it was for a cause they wanted to help, but because it was something they could directly relate to. In fact, some women thanked us for fundraising. Many times as donations were given, people spoke of their friends or family who had breast cancer. Some even told us that they themselves were cancer survivors – survivors who were all of college age.
Another reason students gave practically everything they had was because they were not harassed. Often, fundraisers make students feel cornered, which causes them to turn away or put their head down so they do not have to donate. Students do not respond well when they feel obligated to do something. Since we did not directly ask people to donate, they did not feel pressured into giving money. Quiet and calm fundraising proved to be the most effective way to garner support, and people tend to respond better when they are not given a guilt trip. In this instance, not only did students offer to give their money without being asked, but they gave generously.
Temple students have proven that the reputation of college students being cheap does not apply here. We are more than willing to give up our money when we recognize an honest cause.
Beth Keeley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.