Cue eye roll. Is this another ‘creative’ and not-so-subtle way for Lehigh to ask me again for money?
No…it isn’t. I’m a Young Alum, Class of 2009. It’s hard for me to imagine that this month we celebrated our five year reunion since graduation. While I have had steady jobs and went back to get my Master’s during these five years, I live on an “I want to save the world” salary, which leaves little room in my budget for donating a new wing to Linderman Library.
But – there are other ways for Young Alums to ‘give’ than simply money. As a manager for a capacity building organization in Myanmar, I see first-hand the benefits of human capital in comparison to foreign aid and donations. Human capital is extremely beneficial to the sustained vitality of a project (or in this case, university), and is just as important, if not more, than purely financial support. Universities like Lehigh need both.
So…what can you do to help support Lehigh without breaking your bank?
Time Out, Hold On – What’s In It for Me?
You aren’t selfish to be concerned with where your investment in time, money, and reputation is going. As a Young Alum, you are most likely putting in long work hours while trying to juggle paying rent, bills, and whatever is left over for recreational activities.
So – what’s in it for you: how about making new friends, saving money, and getting a job for starters!
Ok…That Sounds Good. So, How Do I ‘Give’ Back By Giving More than Just Money? (See links to attach at end of this document)
- Wear your LEHIGH hoodie and sport brown and whites around town.
- Provide an internship, mentor a student, or offer a ‘tour’ of your job for Lehigh Students through Career Services. See opportunities for involvement by clicking here!
- Attend a Send Off in your town and welcome new members to the Lehigh Family
- Post available job positions from your employer on LUCIE
- New job? Promotion? Wedding? Birth? Send news about your accomplishments and update your Class Notes online at MyLehigh.
- Contribute a blog right here on Lehigh’s The Goblet!
- Promote Lehigh to promising young men and women and adults as the place to further their education. See Lehigh’s Admissions website for more information.
- Support the Mountain Hawks at home and away sporting events. Remember that time that Lehigh beat Duke?!
- Sports? Wall Street? Community Service? Find your very own Lehigh Affinity Group.
- Network with the best. Attend Alumni Networking Events and Career Fairs either on campus or within your region.
- Join the Young Alumni Council to be a part of organizing Young Alum events
- Join your Regional Alumni Club to plan fun events in your area
- Nominate a fellow alum for one of the alumni awards
- Display your Lehigh diploma in your home or office.
- Read and pass on the Lehigh Alumni Bulletin Magazine
- Attend Lehigh Lafayette, Young Alumni Weekend, and Reunion Weekend and show support for your Alma Mater.
When I was a freshman and everyone told me, “Ashley – college is the best four years of your life” I would brush it off and say, “Yeah, yeah I know everyone tells me.” Now, when I run into the occasional student, I scream “Can I trade places with you, please?!” Lehigh for all of us was a wonderful place to grow, learn and live. I hope and plan to one day to be able to contribute back monetarily in a way that provides others the same scholarships that funded my education. However, in the meantime, while I am currently living on Raman noodles and paycheck-to-paycheck, there are many other ways to contribute that are still extremely valuable to our institution.
Having said that, I will say, that there is extreme importance in giving money, even if it is just a little:
WHY GIVE MONEY, even if it is only a little: There are many reasons alumni give back monetarily to their university: to show appreciation for the education and development the school provided them; to provide others with a similar experience; to stay connected to the college community; and even to reap the social and emotional benefits associated with being a donor.
But here’s one more very important reason: Universities including Lehigh are ranked and monitored by tracking alumni donations and participation – not by amount, but by percentage of those alumni that give some monetary contribution (Seriously if you don’t believe me – check it out: The Alumni Factor). This ranking is one indicator often used by large research grant donors and supporters to determine the success, willingness and dedication that alumni feel towards their alma mater. So GIVE SOME MONEY, even just a little, so that Lehigh can afford more research grants and opportunities, based on a ranking of full alumni support.