Student donors hope to inspire a domino effect
By VICTORIA CISNEROS, Student Writer
In 2017, graduating students donated just over $5,000 to student scholarships as a means of initiating an annual class gift. This year, 608 graduates donated $14,478.24, nearly tripling the dollar amount and creating a feeling of both philanthropy and nostalgia amongst the newest members of Fresno State’s alumni family.
“The school gets better as we donate,” said two-time alum Anthony Valdez, who graduated with his master’s in business administration. “If you want to see some positive change, you have a way to impact that…”
Graduating students were encouraged to donate a minimum amount of $25 in order to receive a custom graduation sash and given the opportunity to decide where their money went.
Students could choose to support the Student Cupboard, an on-campus organization that provides free food to reduce student hunger, Victor E. Bulldog III, Fresno State’s live mascot, or student scholarships.
“…I love that service and there was a point in time in my college career…where I couldn’t afford food and I heard about the cupboard and so it saved my life. I wanted to give back to future students because students have given back to me,” said Mass Communication & Journalism graduate Matthew Broughton.
Of the total amount donated, $6,766 will go to the Student Cupboard and be used to stock the shelves with both food and hygiene products. According to Food Security Coordinator Jessica Medina, this donation translates to either 15,324 boxes of macaroni and cheese or 72,222 pounds of bread.
“We are so thankful to everyone who makes a donation to the Student Cupboard because…it means we can remove one extra stressor that might keep [students] from being able to be successful in their classes,” said Medina.
Victor E. Bulldog III
Cassandra Ruby, a Business Administration graduate, donated to Victor E. Bulldog III because she knows just how much morale her furry friend brings to Fresno State.
“I think that Victor E. represents something important to our school as more than a mascot,” said Ruby. “…he’s super cute and he deserves all the treats.”
Victor E. will receive $1699.64 that will help him “spread Fresno State spirit throughout our community, as well as support his overall health and well-being,” said Fresno State Alumni Association’s Community Relations and New Media Coordinator Asheline Beeson.
“I was helped so much with like financial aid and stuff,” said psychology graduate Curtis Rashadwons. “I just wanted to be able to give back to the students who are pursuing a career in college…”
The $6,012.60 donated to student scholarships will support the FSAA’s General Scholarship Fund, the endowment of which is currently at $4.6 million and supports 85 scholarships.
By utilizing endowment interest, donations can support students “in perpetuity,” said FSAA’s Director of Development Peter Robertson.
The Domino Effect
This year, the number of student donors has more than doubled, demonstrating students’ compassion for others and willingness to ‘pay it forward.’
As young alumni, the class of 2018 hopes to inspire a domino effect of donations that will continue to support future students.
“[The sash] is just a way to show everyone else that you decided to give back. Hopefully it kind of promotes that as well, and everyone else decides to join along too,” said Valdez.