Many of our families and friends across the United States sat down at their dinner tables and shared how thankful they were for all that they have on Thanksgiving Day. Giving thanks may be a cliché, but at Misericordia University, we should be saying “thank you” all year round.
Without the support of some wonderful donors and through their philanthropic efforts, Misericordia would not be as beautiful and historical as it stands today and has for the last 91 years.
As you walk around campus, finding names on buildings is easier than playing a game of “Where’s Waldo?” The names are those of donors or the individuals commemorated by the naming of those buildings. Take the Geraldine Ruth Daley Anderson Bell Tower for example. The tower rings every hour and on occasion, chimes a tune that you would hear at church on Sunday. The gift of the bell tower was the donation of her husband, Dr. Robert S. Anderson. If it wasn’t for Dr. Anderson’s philanthropic action, there would be no bell tower.
As cheesy as it sounds, philanthropy rings true here and throughout the entire campus. Insalaco Hall, the Mary Kintz Bevevino Library and many other structures would not have been built if it weren’t for the generosity of others.
Now, getting back to the word “philanthropy.” The definition of philanthropy is "voluntary action for the common good." I witnessed an example of philanthropy over the summer when a best friend, who is the president of our class, was proposing to me our class gift--A Women with Children Endowed Scholarship of $25,000. He asked me if I was interested in helping him market his plan, since I am a communications major and had worked with marketing over the summer. Of course, I said, “yes.”
After several meetings of working with him and his class officers, I was introduced to the Alumni Services coordinator, Lailani Augustine. I started meeting with her every week to discuss a marketing plan. Little did I know that I would be establishing a brand new organization on campus. The organization was named "Students Today, Alumni Forever" or “STAF” for short. This organization would not only supervise the Women with Children Endowed Scholarship, but also other philanthropic efforts at Misericordia. I was then named as president and chief operating officer.
Lailani then suggested, “You need to find more people.” At first I looked at her like she had three heads, but then realized, I did need more help. We added 10 other outstanding students to help in promoting the awareness of philanthropy. Each individual was hand-picked by the vice president of STAF and myself. Working with each and every one of these fine students has made the process of getting the organization off the ground easier. Being able to delegate objectives such as social media posting and event planning is so easy thanks to the efforts of our executive board.
I attended many informational sessions to present the culture of philanthropy to the faculty and staff of Misericordia as one of my duties as president and COO of STAF. Public speaking was always a strong point in my set of skills and in doing these presentations to the faculty and staff, I showed how much the culture of philanthropy meant to me.
I hope to educate the Misericordia community on the culture of philanthropy through our organization. We have already hosted our first event, Fall-anthropy, a successful event in which the Misericordia community was able to say “thank you” simply by signing a banner. They were also educated quickly on the impact of philanthropy and were given information regarding our organization.
It is an honor as president and COO of STAF to reach out to our Misericordia alumni and welcome them back to campus. Even to donate their time to volunteer for events such as Alumni Pie or First Year Move-In.
If you would like to learn more about "Students Today, Alumni Forever," you can visit our page at http://cougarconnect.misericordia.edu/mustaf or like us on Facebook at facebook.com/STAFMU. You can also contact us at [email protected].
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About the author: Mike Gombita 18’ is a communications major and serves as president and COO of Students Today, Alumni Forever. You can follow him on Twitter at @MikeGombita or connect with him on Linkedin.