Giving back to the community is something everyone should participate in at least once in their life. As students at the University of Tampa, we are fortunate enough to go to a private university that many people help fund. Since 1931, our university has had a senior class tradition of leaving a legacy through the senior class donating money. This year, the Senior Campaign is asking each senior to donate $20.15 or more.
For someone like me who is not associated with a fraternity or sorority, I also am not affiliated with a philanthropic organization through which I can serve. The Senior Campaign gave me this opportunity to donate my $20.15.
Most students who are not part of a school group or club that does community service or who sponsors a charitable organization do not have an easy way to donate or give back to their community. People may not be as willing to participate in giving back if they don’t ever look for it since it isn’t something that is not required for everyone to do. Most donations to our school come from parents, alumni or outside donors. It is nice that UT has provided us with an alternate opportunity to give back to our school and create our own legacy. The campaign is led by the 2015 class committee with a goal to provide two $1,500 scholarships for future Spartans. With a large graduating class, this is a low expectation for seniors to give back, but it is a good place to start.
I always hear students complaining about how expensive our school is and that our school gets so much money from outside donors. Both of these statements are true. However, as a private university we do not receive government funding, so all the money we do get helps cover all of the other expenses that our tuition doesn’t fill. The university uses some of the money to renovate buildings and build dormitories. It does a great job expanding our campus as our school continues to grow. According to the UT website: “donations create the scholarships offered to 92 percent of UT’s student body.”
I don’t think anyone should complain about the small amount the Senior Campaign has asked the senior class to contribute. Since they are hoping to see at least 30 percent of the senior body donate, this makes me think that it has been a struggle to gain participation in past years. If helping create more scholarships for students isn’t incentive enough, everyone who participates will be recognized for their donation under the Donor Honor Roll on the class campaign page, along with recognition in the alumni magazine that comes out in the fall.
Besides helping create new scholarships for students in need, I know that an incentive for me to donate was the limited edition philanthropy cord to wear at graduation that you get when you donate. Who doesn’t want more cords? The campaign even raffled off the chance to throw the first pitch at the Rays vs. Orioles game as a part of Senior Week on April 7.
Although UT has tried to offer many incentives to donate to the campaign, it seems students still either don’t know about or care about this opportunity, and it should be advertised more. If 150 seniors donated the asked amount, we could reach the goal of creating the two scholarships. The campaign page can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/spartansgive. They posted a few shout-outs to seniors who have already donated and from the looks of it, not many have.
If we have any school pride, every senior or their parents should give back and we can make our Senior Campaign something to talk about.
Katie Drake can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.