When we graduate from Lehigh, we hope to feel proud of our accomplishments and appreciate the opportunities the university provided for us. We hope the pride and memories integral to the Lehigh experience will stay with us for years to come and will be passed on to others.
To some, donating to the university is a way to ensure the Lehigh experience will be carried down and last for future students.
The Campaign for Lehigh, a five-year fundraising campaign launching on the UC Front Lawn with additional celebrations in New York City and San Francisco, is an attempt to embody that hope — it aims to inspire Lehigh students and alumni to develop and maintain involvement with the Lehigh community.
As an initiative to fundraise for the university, the campaign kickoff on the front lawn is tailored to the student body. However, current students might be hesitant to donate because they don’t know exactly where their money is going or they don’t feel as though donating will directly affect their own Lehigh experiences. Some might feel resentment, as they are already paying a high price for a Lehigh degree.
Although it is not possible for all students to donate, there are positives to donating once they become alumni.
We donate to support the idea that everyone should have access to the Lehigh experience.
Students on financial aid and scholarships are here in part because of the generosity of others. Clubs and organizations have grown because others have given back. Greek houses are maintained and renovated because of alumni philanthropy.
While some students might be hesitant to donate on top of paying tuition, it is something we must consider once our college careers have come to a close in order to ensure that future students get the same access and opportunity. We must think of donations as contributing to our legacy.
In order to continue meeting 100 percent of demonstrated financial need, Lehigh needs students and alumni to give back. Furthermore, with the development of the Path to Prominence and the gradual growth of the student body, including increased numbers of international and first-generation students, there may be a greater need for financial aid and scholarships to be funded by donations.
It’s important to know where donations are going, however, and to be reassured that the university is consulting with alumni to determine the most fitting place for their donations. For many, seeing their money go toward a memorable organization, academic department or a Greek chapter will spark nostalgia where they want to return to their community and see it in a better place than when they left it.
For current students, it’s important that the university makes them feel connected and engaged with the Lehigh network and community. A flashy and fun event on the UC Front Lawn should not be used to pacify students and only stress the importance of donations.
Lehigh should ensure that students want to believe in what they are doing — that when they come back to visit, they’re proud of the school and the direction it’s headed.