National Philanthropy Week brings out generous nature of Grinnell students

Nov. 21, 2018 — During National Philanthropy Week on Nov. 12-16, students pondered ways they could help future students have the same great opportunities and experiences that they are experiencing at Grinnell College.

To commemorate the week, the Grinnell Student Alumni Council organized events that reinforced the four themes of philanthropy: time, talent, treasure and ties. Happenings included: 

  • Monday – Students wrote their favorite things about Grinnell and noticed how it tied together with alumni responses
  • Tuesday – Students tested their knowledge of Grinnell volunteering opportunities at a prize wheel
  • Wednesday – Students had their picture taken at a photo booth and dug for treasure
  • Thursday – Students thanked recent alumni for their gifts and heard about opportunities to give back
  • Friday – Students demonstrated their abilities at a talent show

Also throughout most of the week, students wrote thank you notes to Grinnell faculty and staff.

Grinnell student show off their dancing abilities during a talent show to cap National Philanthropy Week.
Grinnell student show off their dancing abilities during a talent show to cap National Philanthropy Week. Talent is one of the four themes of philanthropy along with time, treasure, and ties.

“We thanked faculty and staff for all of the hard work they put in for enriching our lives and keeping the College running,” said Mitch Sevier ’21, who co-leads the philanthropy and social outreach committee of Student Alumni Council.

He was pleased many students participated in the event. A student would come up to the table and then encourage their friends to write notes as well.

“We have gotten quite a few responses, especially as the week went on and the word got out about philanthropy,” he said.

National Philanthropy Day was originally conceived by Douglas Freeman in the 1980s, and the first official national events were held in 1986 after President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation. The idea behind the day is to recognize the great contributions of philanthropy – and those people active in the philanthropic community – to the enrichment of the world.

National Philanthropy Day was Nov. 15, but students at Grinnell extended the occasion to a week to celebrate what alumni, friends of the College, faculty, staff, parents, and their fellow students provide the College.

“I’ve been thinking about it since my first year at Grinnell College,” Student Alumni Council co-president Emily Zaffiro ’19 said. “I give back through all the four T’s of philanthropy. I give back through time by all the ways I am apart of Student Alumni Council and all the clubs and activities that I do. I have given back to the treasure for all the four years that I’ve been a student.”

Zaffiro said philanthropy is important because so many people have given before. She said it doesn’t have to be viewed as a chore. It can be fun.

“Giving your time can be really rewarding,” she said. “A great example is the College’s Global Day of Service that happens every June. I did a project in Chicago and it was an absolute blast. It is a really great way to meet other Grinnellians.”

Zaffiro was able to share her experiences while manning the photo booth and treasurer dig on Wednesday. Both events activities were organized by Kiara Borosky ’19 and Bryce Lew ’19, class ambassadors and senior class gift committee members. At the photo booth, students stood in front of a bright green screen and had fun with different backgrounds. Student also dug through a box full of sand to find prizes, which included treasure of candy, toy airplanes, stress balls and dinosaurs. The most popular items were dinosaurs and airplanes, Zaffiro said.

Eliza Bunnell ’19 participated in the treasure dig. She said philanthropy was important and she has provided her own treasure by giving money to Grinnell.

Sevier said he also plans to give back to the College in any way possible in the future.

“I would like to make sure that other students have the same great experiences that I’m having,” he said.

– By Lisa Shapiro

For your information:

Learn more about how the Student Alumni Council is fostering connections between students and alumni. Share you ties, time and talent through volunteer opportunities or share your treasure through a gift to the College.

To read more alumni news, check out our news archive.