By Lily Vining || Managing Editor
What does a philanthropist look like? The Student Giving Committee says: look in the mirror.
On Day of Giving 2023, which spanned from March 21st-22nd, past and present Diplomats came together for 1,787 minutes to celebrate the entire F&M community during the annual fundraising event. While ambassadors asked alumni and other friends of the college for their contributions, students were also encouraged to give at the DoG tent in the center of Hartman Green. Manning this tent was Lara Gillingham ‘23, the Senior chair of the Student Giving Committee, She, along with Hope Petralia ‘24, the committee’s Junior chair, are on a mission to further their central message: Diplomats do not need to wait until they graduate to start giving back to their school.
This year, the Student Giving Committee, supported by the Office of Alumni Engagement, set the goal of bringing in 400 student donors, including at least 300 current Seniors. Note that the group did not have a dollar goal: the most important part is getting current students involved in the philanthropic mission, not in raising a total amount of money.
At the tent, students were encouraged to make a gift of any size. While their immediate reward was to spin the prize wheel and wear a special cord at graduation, the real benefits come down the line, when their money is reinvested in the various programs they are passionate about. Gillingham, who works as a tour guide and is a member of the Alumni Leaders of Tomorrow program, recognizes the importance of supporting the college for current and future generations of students. “My mom is an F&M alumna and is very involved in supporting the school, which taught me how crucial it is to give back,” she explains. She also talked about some of the programs that mean the most to her, like financial aid: “we are all very fortunate to go to F&M” she says, “so giving back contributes to grants and scholarships for future students who otherwise would not have these incredible opportunities.”
Students on the committee also note that giving back to the college can help recent graduates in their future endeavors. Student giving and the advancement of college academic programs can be seen as a form of “investment” in the prestige of the school. Alumni will see a return on their investment as their F&M diploma— and the invaluable education it symbolizes— takes them far in their careers and in future education.
What student ambassadors most want to share with their peers is that there is no minimum age to be a philanthropist. Most students think that only wealthy, past graduates can afford to give back to their alma mater with a large check. However, even a few dollars make a difference and can help start the habit of giving for years to come.
This Day of Giving proved to be a huge success: the College surpassed its goal with a total of 2,062 donors and $863,794.00 in total donations. More importantly, the Student Giving Committee surpassed its own goal of total student donors with 511 from across class years. They are also over halfway to the Senior donor goal, with 174 donors currently. Petralia expresses her excitement with the number of students who came out to give during the annual event and hopes that more Seniors will contribute before their graduation in May. Be on the lookout for upcoming events from the group for Seniors and all class years for additional opportunities to give back.
Even though Day of Giving is over, the spirit of support does not need to end. Anyone can make their donations here. Donors can choose where their money should go— options include Financial Aid, Diplomat Athletics, Academic Excellence, Student Experience, and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Priorities. You can also select to donate to the general Franklin & Marshall fund, which allocates money to the areas in greatest need, providing the resources necessary to sustain the College and its mission of excellence in undergraduate education. Regardless of the size or frequency of your gift, you are making an impact on the school and the lives of the students, in the present and future.
Junior Lily Vining is the Managing Editor. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.