Student Alumni Council hosts “Elon ... Pass It On!”
The annual program raises awareness among students that donors help cover many expenses that come with studying at Elon University.
The four-word prompt on a large sheet of paper Thursday in Moseley Center was simple: “Because of Elon donors...”
Underneath, students wrote responses that were as varied as they were heartfelt. Some talked about studying abroad, while others mentioned the scholarships they receive. A few messages noted involvement in Fellows programs or appreciation of cultural offerings.
Reminding the student body of the opportunities made available because of donors is exactly what organizers of the sixth annual “Elon .... Pass It On!” campaign hoped to accomplish. Sponsored by the Student Alumni Council, the April 4 event inside the main entrance to the student center saw a steady stream of participation.
“It’s important to thank donors because they give so much,” said SAC President Mimi Merliss, a sophomore marketing major from Lincoln, Neb. “And it’s important to get students involved now and cultivate their love of Elon so that when we become alumni we can remember what made us who we are, and then give back.”
Organizers said the program serves to educate students about the costs of an Elon education. Tuition and fees only cover 81 percent of an education and the university relies on financial gifts from alumni, parents, grandparents, corporations and foundations, faculty and staff, and friends to cover the difference.
In addition to the message board, yard signs leading up to the Moseley front entrance depicted features of campus that could be affected without the university’s current level of donor support.
Messages reminded students that without gifts, there would be 600 fewer scholarships, Campus Recreation would possibly charge a fee, wireless Internet access wouldn’t necessarily be available across campus, and the football team may still have been playing at a local high school stadium.
“A lot of times students don’t realize all our donors do to help us,” said Rachael Hart, the university’s coordinator of annual giving. “They walk around campus, see how gorgeous it is, and assume that’s just the way it should be, but that’s only possible because of donors.”
Elon junior Caroline Walsh wrote that her Semester at Sea experience last fall was possible because of donors. Though she traveled to Europe, Africa and South America without the help of scholarships, Walsh said, a culture exists on campus because of donor gifts, and the Elon emphasis on studying abroad convinced her to take part.
“A lot of my friends have now been abroad,” Walsh said. “And I don’t know that I would have done this if I hadn’t come to Elon.”