A few of our executive board members had the opportunity to attend the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Affiliated Student Advancement Programs (ASAP) Network Convention this summer where one topic came up again and again: Student Philanthropy. The idea has been around forever, but it has made a major breakthrough in the recent years. Many schools have taken measures to increase students’ awareness of the donations needed to keep the doors open and help keep tuition low.
Oklahoma State University shared their success at CASE ASAP with their philanthropy event of “Tuition Freedom Week.” Each day focused on a different aspect of campus and how it is impacted by donations. For example, Monday highlighted scholarships, while Tuesday focused on how donations affect facilities. Wednesday showed appreciation for endowed professorships, and on Thursday the Student Foundation group hosted a panel of donors on why they chose to give back to their alma mater. With time we hope to develop plans to make big events as Oklahoma State University has. We hope to be able use Tuition Freedom Week as a starting point, but adapt it to fit our needs for Missouri State. With this being the first year of focusing on student philanthropy for R.E.A.L. Bears, our goal is to put together an informational event to raise awareness of our reliance on donors. We hope to educate students on how far their tuition dollars go and the need for donors. Currently, we are in the brainstorming stage and have realized the many directions and ideas we have to make student philanthropy a huge success. The objectives of student philanthropy events are to show students the true value of philanthropy, to facilitate desire to show appreciation to the donors who make it all possible, and start planting the idea of giving back to the University early on. The hope is that this will increase students’ readiness and willingness to donate once graduated. With more donations the University has more opportunities to further improve the facilities, keep tuition low, and keep providing students with top notch services.
Taking on this new goal of student philanthropy creates a multitude of opportunities for us to demonstrate our support for Missouri State, the Alumni Center, and R.E.A.L. Bears. We can’t wait to show our enthusiasm as we instill pride and appreciation in other students here at Missouri State University.