The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Staff Editorial: Donor-student connections needed

The fountain in front of Founders. The wall around the baseball field. The fish tank in the Quakeria. These are a few examples of times when Guilford College has received generous donations for very specific purposes, purposes that, quite frankly, don’t address the true needs of this institution and don’t reflect the voices of this community.

However, we at The Guilfordian aren’t writing this editorial with the intention of playing the blame game. Rather, we hope to encourage better communication between our community and the donors who so graciously support it.

Philanthropy at Guilford, as with most colleges, is about finding a balance between the needs of the school and the unique interests of the donor.

In an email interview, Associate Director of Philanthropy Joey Wilkerson compared donors picking a project to fund with the process of selecting a major, stating, “We have many majors to choose from, but ultimately students … tend to gravitate towards one or two that spark passion and interest. The same is true with donors.”

Wilkerson outlined the five major areas of a $15 million fundraising campaign the Advancement Office is currently working on: Annual Funds, Student Support, Faculty Support, Academic Programs and The Campus Community. Of these five, the Annual Funds caategory allows the most versatile use of donated funds, but we encourage donors to look into all five options before making a choice. All of these categories are areas in which donations can truly make a difference for this community.

As for what students can do, the two main ways students can connect with donors are scholarship recipients writing thank-you letters and students attending events where they can spend time with donors. We hope that our fellow students are taking advantage of these opportunities to both show their gratitude for the funding they have received and to make real connections with our donors. Getting to know the people who support this institution is a vital part of the communication process.

In addition to these options, there is another way for students, and donors, to connect with each other in the philanthropy process: the Student Advisory Council student philanthropy group.

In 2013, The Guilfordian published a letter to the Board of Trustees detailing a proposition to create the Student Advisory Council which would, through collaboration with offices like Advancement and Student Affairs, allow students greater access to donors and the ability to put forward a more student-based perception of what is needed on campus.

The SAC was intended to bridge the gap between students and donors, but a lack of continued student involvement has left the project with little momentum. If you are interested in revitalizing the Council, we encourage you to contact the leaders of Community Senate.

This editorial, and the suggestions therein, are merely the beginning of what we hope will be a continuing dialogue between students and donors.

So, students, please raise your voices not to admonish, but to respectfully advise.

Donors, thank you for all your generous support of our school. We appreciate all you have given our college and hope that you will allow us to help direct your philanthropy towards the needs that we, as residents of this campus, are uniquely capable of recognizing. We thank you for your interest in and support of this place we hold dear; now let us work together to make it a better place for those who will join our community in the future.

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