Student Philanthropy Initiative kicks off for March Mania

Dinner for 12-1: Left to right: Aide Garcia, Jose Galicia, Miriam Garcia, Doinita Mary Toranzo, Gladis Alvares, NEIU Alumni Association President Chuck Good, Byron Terry, Tessa Groll, Pawel Szeliga, Angel Salgado.

Sarahy Lopez, News Editor

The Student Philanthropy Initiative, started by NEIU alumni and current students intend to engage and encourage students on campus, to raise money for scholarships and to become more involved in the community.

“We educate students on the importance of giving during their academic career and host student life activities to build school spirit at Northeastern,” Assistant Director of the Office of Alumni Relations Ashley Agron said. “Giving doesn’t always include money. It is giving your time and your talent and your treasure. If you’re good at baking goods, you can host a bake sale and that’s one way to contribute your talent.”

Agron said that while their ultimate goal is to raise scholarships for students, they can also help by volunteering and engaging in community projects and events.

“The whole purpose of this is so that, in the future, once graduates are alums and they are in a position to give back to the university—we hope that we have instilled that ‘giving’ pattern in them as students,” Agron said. “It’s more likely for students to give as an alum if they have already been accustomed to a giving pattern.”

Started last year, the Student Philanthropy Initiative and the Office of Alumni Relations hosted a number of events during the academic year in hopes to entertain and engage students in a wide range of activities on campus.

They also contributed funds to the Transforming Lives campaign, specifically for the Class Gift which raises scholarships for incoming and current students by seniors.

They will be hosting the second annual March Mania (a series of events in March) in support of the NEIU Alumni Association and the Class Gift Scholarship Fund. The Student Philanthropy Initiative also helps complete community service projects to ultimately incorporate the practice of benevolence and charity into NEIU student life.

One of the ways the Student Philanthropy Initiative started engaging incoming students is during Golden Eagle Welcome Day, the move-in day for the Nest residents. As part of the initiative, around 350 students were each handed a dollar from the donations of alum Jim Blair and the fraternity Alpha Phi Lambda. After the welcoming ceremony, the students were encouraged to donate the dollar back as their first act of giving back to NEIU.

“A lot of them put in a couple extra dollars, or even threw in a five. But that’s their first step in giving,” Agron said.

The initiative will host a number of events beginning March 14 including a Pie-lanthropy Bake Sale in Village Square where there will be games and prizes.

On March 22 and 23, the initiative will host a “Dinner for 12” during Spring Break where alumni will have a meal with current NEIU students.

March 28, there will be “Psycho Bingo,” a fast-paced bingo in Replay Arcade Bar, located in Lincoln Park, beginning at 8 p.m.

And lastly, on March 29, the initiative will hand out piggy banks in Village Square for students to fill up and bring back from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The student with the heaviest piggy bank will win a prize.

“I wish there was more student involvement. I know that it’s hard because Northeastern is a commuter campus, and the students that are involved, they’re already involved in their own student group. It’s hard to get students to participate. I hope that the Student Philanthropy Initiative will give students the opportunity to be involved,” Agron said.