College Students Giving Back

by Allison Frey

Growing up, my parents taught me about the importance of giving back.  Giving back did not necessarily mean dropping a check in the mail.  We fed the homeless on Thanksgiving and my “rock star” dad even played a few benefit concerts with his band.  Inspired to give back in college, I became the philanthropy chair of my sorority, Sigma Delta Tau.  My job was to raise as much money possible for Prevent Child Abuse America and Jewish Women International.  However, I have found that for college students, there is often a disconnect between donating money and understanding what that money is actually going towards.  This is especially the case if their family was not involved in philanthropic activities growing up.

I think that in order for many college students to care, they must feel emotionally connected to the cause.  I cared about JWI because I had attended Women to Watch and had heard personal stories about relationship abuse.  But, how could I get my peers to feel the same way as me?    Last week at my chapter meeting, I stood up to explain the importance of buying cards through the Mother’s Day Flower Project.  After I sat down, I felt as though I had not done a sufficient job convincing my peers to buy cards.  I stood back up and said, “I wish you guys could hear these shelters on the phone.  I can’t even express to you how appreciative they are to receive flowers for Mother’s Day.  We need to help bring joy to these women’s lives.”  Who knows if my second attempt worked, but I do know that college students need motivation to give back by hearing concrete examples.  These examples can be heard through videos, speakers, or personal stories and are vital to showing college students why it is important that they help too!

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