The Student Alumni Association is honored to extend a sincere welcome to the incoming class of Bulldogs who, in four years (hopefully!), will comprise the University of Georgia Class of 2017. To help you feel a little more at home during orientation, SAA invites you to join them for a pizza party in the lobby of Brumby Hall during the first night of each orientation session. Come relax, meet your fellow Bulldogs, enjoy some music, and eat some free food! Also, be sure to check out our table during the party to find out more information on how to become a part of SAA and all of the events, programs, and giveaways we have planned throughout the year. GO DAWGS!
First off, I have a confession. I, Kevin Reginald Brinson, was raised….a Gator. But rest assured, I am now a proud student of the University of Georgia. The University of Georgia’s rich culture, tradition, and sense of family has firmly won me over.
Despite being a 2nd year student at the University, I have been able to observe all the great things this University does for its students. The University of Georgia is the Flagship University of this great state, and the University does all it can to provide the best educational and cultural experience possible.
This year the Student Alumni Association, the Student Government Association, the Arch Society and several other wonderful student organizations welcomed our newest brothers and sisters of the Bulldawg Family with the 1st Annual Freshmen Welcome. The Freshmen Welcome was more than a really cool event; it was a perfect example of students giving back. Proud students organized an event that showcased a sense of community and unity to our newest class of students. This reaffirmed a message that resonated to the freshmen, but also to other students, faculty and staff: students helping students is a vital component of this University.
As I mentioned previously, I have not always been a GA Bulldawg. During my senior year, my top choices included the University of Florida and Morehouse College. After participating in GA Daze, my eyes were opened. Student leaders, faculty and professors, such as Dr. Bennet-Alexander and Vanessa Smith, showed me the rich culture and opportunities present at this institution. That one weekend, filled with informative and fun activities changed my mind. Additionally, current students were our hosts. I instantly fell in love with GA Daze and the concept of students helping other students.
Donating to SAA allows us, as students, an opportunity to impact someone else’s educational experience. By donating our time, and in this case our money, we students can make the University a special place. Private gifts contribute to 20% of UGA’s overall budget. But unfortunately, only 2.2% come from current students. If you’re a Bulldawg, you realize that this University is truly one of a kind. Your gifts will directly benefit others who come after you; in a sense, when you give, you contribute to your legacy of helping others reach their dreams. Furthermore, there are opportunities to donate your gifts to specific colleges or programs within the University. I donate because I know the impact gifts can have. I want other students to have opportunities that I had, like GA Daze. Sometimes we, as students, fail to realize the power behind our gifts. Several scholarships, opportunities, and life changing experiences and the like are provided by student gifts to SAA.
The University of Georgia. We are Bulldawgs. We are awesome. We are rockstars. We are future doctors. We are future lawyers. We are future teachers. We are future businessmen and business women. We are future parents. We are future mentors. We are leaders. We are UGA. By giving to SAA you can contribute to the past, the present, and the future legacies that comprise the magical place also known as the University of Georgia.
And lastly, but certainly not least: GO DAWGS!
Kevin R. Brinson
Class of 2014
I give. Being a student at the University of Georgia has taught me the true value and importance of giving. As a freshman, I engaged myself in multiple organizations, trying to figure out how I fit into this great big university. Throughout this process, not only did I find many of my passions and a general direction for my future, but I also fell in love with Athens and the University more so than I ever had in my past twenty-one years (which is truly saying something seeing as how I am of the mindset that I am Bulldog born, Bulldog bred, and by God when I die I'll be Bulldog dead!).
Giving in my first three years primarily consisted of giving of myself, whether that be giving of my time, giving of my energies, or giving of myself to the overall betterment of the University. It was not until I attended a gathering of the UGA Foundation that I was given a firsthand view of the impact that monetary giving can play in the overall improvement and consistency in the educational experience at the University of Georgia. After this meeting, I took the plunge: I dipped into my minuscule college student bank account and made my first donation to UGA.
Pride in giving. It was in this moment that though I could have spent that money on a Hanger steak from The Last Resort, or the Nat from YourPie, I knew that my dollars were going direclty to my future alma matter, my current home, and the university I am proud to support in all aspects of giving. I felt complete confidence in submitting this payment that it was a worthy cause and a safe investment. Since then, my appreciation for the work of the Alumni Association and the Student Alumni Associations efforts of fundraising for the future of the University of Georgia has increased tremendously.
Therefore, I give. Through this magnificent journey in finding myself, my passions, finding a new home away from home, and finding the value in giving of more than just myself but financially doing what small part I can contribute has helped make my experience at the University of Georgia truly unforgettable. I gave, I will give, and I will spread the word.
God bless and Go Dawgs!
President, Student Government Association
Through the years, the University of Georgia has produced some of the world’s greatest leaders and thinkers. I chose to attend the University because of its undeniable prestige, far-reaching reputation, and magnificent visual beauty. I knew that when I graduated from this institution that my degree would have value. UGA is the vehicle that transports students to their highest potential and that helps them accomplish their greatest goals. This institution opens closed doors and makes it possible for dreams to become reality. The opportunities afforded to students here are endless; however, these opportunities come at a price. With the help of private donations, this University can continue to provide never-ending possibilities to its students.
I feel that it is my duty and obligation to give back to the place that has given me so much. I joined the Student Alumni Association before I even stepped on campus because I wanted to be a part of something greater than myself. I knew that a small monetary sacrifice for the greater good of the University would help make this school the extraordinary institution that it is today. Donating money to the University is just a small token of my appreciation, and I feel that it is only right to repay everything that has been given to me. The University has molded me into a better person and more efficient leader, and has given me the ability to make a difference in this world.
All of my life, I have been taught the importance of servitude and the importance of giving back to my community. The idea that I made it to the University against all statistical odds motivates me everyday to cherish the time that I have here and to serve this institution to the best of my abilities. The University of Georgia gave me the chance to expand my experiences, and I am forever in debt.
Carlon D. Howard
Class of 2013
Asking an undergraduate to donate back the University isn’t always the easiest request to have fulfilled. We’ve got books and Little Italy pizza and football tickets and away games and the inevitable parking tickets to pay for. When I first got here I thought the same thing. I didn’t think that it was important for me to donate and, to be honest, I probably never even gave it thought for more than a second or two. However now, as senior, I understand that so many of the reasons that I love this school are funded through private donations. However only 2.2% of students currently donate to the University. I think the issue isn’t that students don’t love the University; rather they don’t understand how important private donations truly are. From paying professors, to the commencement ceremony, to study abroad scholarships, to opportunities for freshman like Dawg Camp, virtually every aspect of this University is impacted from private donations. Tuition and government funding are not enough to cover the costs of running the University. You’re a student—I get that. Your donation doesn’t have to be huge and I’m not expecting you to donate enough for President Adams to rename the Ramsey Center in your honor. But I am expecting you to do your part. We all benefit from the services and opportunities that are provided to us through private donation. Be proud to donate back to the University and help it to progress for another 200 plus years and continue to be the best University in the South.
I am a UGA Senior who is about to graduate in May 2012. I chose to attend the best university in the South. 2.2% of the students contribute 100% of the private donations given by students. Meanwhile 98% of the students who don’t give receive the same benefits and opportunities as the students who do donate. I am the 2.2%. Now please, do the right thing and #OccupySAAmailboxwithdonations.
Class of 2012
Sigma Nu Fraternity, Vice-President
As the grandson, son, and brother of three generations of non-Bulldogs, I never imagined that I would one day attend The University of Georgia. Yet words will never be able to describe my past two years at our nation’s oldest public university. It has become a home away from home; an adopted family for me. I am the man I am today, and will forever be changed for the better, because I took a leap of faith and traveled half-way across the state to this place I now love so much. I love the people. I love the history. I love the opportunities.
When I decided to attend a public institution, the importance of private giving never crossed my mind. That being said, approximately 20% of the University’s overall budget is comprised of private donations. In other words, I owe 20% of my college experience to those who were willing to give of themselves – no matter how much – so that others would enjoy what it feels like to be a Georgia Bulldog. I was surprised. And I was even more surprised to learn that only 2.2% of the current study body is willing to give – no matter how much – to this place we all call home.
I joined the Student Alumni Association because The University of Georgia deserves my loyalty. I not only owe my support to her, but I also owe it to the many generations of students who will eventually follow in my footsteps under the Arch. I owe it to the people, to the history, and to the opportunities I have been fortunate enough to experience during my time here. From academics, to Greek Life, to leadership and service, my experiences both inside and outside of the classroom have undoubtedly been, in some way, shape, or form, positively influenced by private giving. Put simply, the University would not be the same without the selflessness and generosity of private donors, to include students like me who give only the small amount we can afford.
At every home football game, the legendary Larry Munson reminds us that “there is no tradition more worthy of envy, no institution worthy of such loyalty, as The University of Georgia.” The first time I pointed my finger towards the southwest corner of Sanford Stadium and heard the lone bugler sound the “Battle Hymn of the Bulldog Nation,” I knew this was undoubtedly the case. I can only hope that, one day, my son or daughter gets the same feeling at his or her first home football game. And I am satisfied knowing that their college experience will be enhanced because folks like me choose to give – no matter how much – to The University of Georgia.
Wells Ellenberg ‘13
Athletic Association Board of Directors
September 20, 2011
Each year, the Student Alumni Association welcomes a new breed of Bulldogs with a personal copy of their G Book. This year’s breed was different, unlike any other breed that had come before them. Their SAT scores and GPAs were higher, they exhibited high school involvement and leadership at a level University Admissions regarded as unparalleled, and they were more numerous than ever before. But yet, there remained a consistency in noting that they were not the first breed of Bulldogs, many had traveled this way before them. The ways of those past personalities and the connection they each individual across the Bulldog Nation feels to another is undeniable; it is a defining characteristic of our University that roots us in tradition--a tradition that spans over 227 years now. The newest breed of Bulldogs has arrived, and they are the Tradition Keepers.
The G Book serves as the official Traditions Handbook for University of Georgia students. The book, in its current inception, was written and crafted entirely by students for students, making it most applicable to our experience today. The first Friday of each month, students are encouraged to visit the Wray-Nicholson House for Tradition Keeper Check-In. Any traditions that they have completed are signed off, and that student is one step closer to becoming an official Tradition Keeper. Tradition Keepers are recognized when they complete twenty approved traditions and are given the official Tradition Keeper lapel pin. When a student completes forty traditions, they receive a personalized Tradition Keeper plaque. Completing forty traditions and earning the namesake of University of Georgia Tradition Keeper is regarded as an honor and is a respectable accomplishment.
Ultimately, the new era of The G Book serves to connect students with the traditions and points of pride of the University of Georgia. The pages of the G Book are interactive and designed to capture students’ own, personalized memories from during their time in Athens. Students can take pictures, collect ticket stubs, and are encouraged to fill the pages creatively in order to produce a living testament to their time spent at the University of Georgia. The G Book is truly the only publication of its kind. The implications of the connections it provides between generational gaps are crucial in understanding the history of a University with historical roots as vast as the University of Georgia’s--a history that can only be, and is only unique to our nation’s first land grant institution for higher education. These were their stories, and these are our traditions, and the G Book is one of the reasons why I choose to give.
The innate tradition of the University is what I first fell in love with and what continues to drive my passion for its grounds and its students. The G Book reminds me so much of that original passion, and is supported by gifts to the Georgia Fund for the UGA Alumni Association. Without these gifts, many students would have a greatly different experience than the one that they have known. Being cognizant of the programs that my donation funds has truly granted me with a passion for continuing to show my support. By donating as a student, I hope to serve as a model for other students in demonstrating the importance of inculcating a spirit of giving to the University to continue the G Book and other programs like it.
Ashlee Nicole Sharer
Orientation Leader 2011
Class of 2013
June 28, 2011
As a senior in high school, I couldn’t have cared less about the University Of Georgia. I was selfish, believing that my family’s move to Georgia was in no way going to affect my plans to attend a proper school in the Midwest where I would be safe from the southern twangs, muddy boots, and hot weather that seemed to pervade this forsaken corner of the country.
And here I am, four years, a diploma, and a walk under the Arch later, so crazy about this place that I’m writing here in the hopes of letting everyone else know how deep my love is for UGA. This institution I’ve called home for the last four years of my life has had a lot to do with the person I have become, and chances are you’ve been changed for the better, too!
We’re among brothers and sisters in “dawghood”, so let’s be honest here; the money I’ve given to the university through donations thus far is woefully inadequate compared to the value of what I’ve gotten in return. The hordes of free t-shirts, Dinner With A Dozen Dawgs seminars, tailgates, finals treats, the list goes on and on. Now that I’ve got an Econ degree I feel confident saying if you’re not giving a small SAA donation through undergrad and connecting in all of these awesome ways, you’re not even close to maximizing your utility…it’s completely illogical not to give!
Being a student donor during my time as undergrad helped me identify myself not only as a student, but a part of the tradition. Despite my Midwestern roots, I felt as a donor that I was a shareholder in the glory of ol’ Georgia which opened up a whole new level of involvement for me. I certainly wasn’t going to be the one to tarnish the good name of my alma mater! I became inexorably tied into the very fabric of this institution and it gave me both strength and purpose.
I am honored to have my name on the Senior Signature plaque in the middle of Tate Plaza, but I know that modest slab of metal is merely a metaphor for my intent to leave my legacy here. I challenge each of you to look at your own experiences at Georgia and see how much you have benefited from standing on the shoulders of those who came before you. Personally, my experience wouldn’t have been close to the same without donor-funded programs like LeaderShape, The Arch Society, and events through the Honors College. Thanks to those who gave before us, we are offered the opportunity to go above and beyond in so many ways. We should be honored to have the privilege of supporting those after us in a similar fashion.
Every year the new crop of freshman feel more and more like they are my kids. Maybe it’s because I want them to enjoy their time here as much as I did. Maybe it’s because I hope they will also carry the torch further, strengthening the UGA name so I can loudly and proudly claim it as my alma mater. Or maybe down the road, some other kid from the Midwest will find a new home which will help turn him from a boy into a man.
I’d like to think so.
Class of 2011
June 6, 2011
Most of my undergraduate experience, I did not fully appreciate the importance of private giving to a place like UGA. I simply thought that my tuition plus whatever else the state kicked in was more than enough to support my experience at UGA. In fact, the thought of reaching deeper into my own pocket and giving to UGA, rather than paying mandatory fees to UGA was a concept that I did not understand. After serving in the Student Government Association for three years, my senior year I was humbled and honored to be elected by my peers to the office of President of SGA. This position afforded me a lot of remarkable opportunities and unforgettable memories.
One such experience was being able to represent my fellow students on the board of the university's endowment foundation, The Arch Foundation as a voting trustee. This vantage point allowed me to see the university and it's funding structure through a different lens. I learned how much of the day-to-day operations and activities of the university depended on private gifts. I learned just how much my experience at UGA really cost compared to how much I paid. And most resonating, I learned about the direct connections between gifts to the university and the programs, organizations, and moments I had while at the university that defined my college experience. Like many of my peers, much of my UGA growth and learning occurred outside the classroom. And a great deal of that was made possible in some way by private gifts. The truth is, this lofty idea of endowments, capital campaigns, and foundations can be simply translated to the programs and services you experienced while you attended UGA.
Think about the things that really mattered to you while you were at UGA and I guarantee you that private gifts helped them to be as amazing as they were for you in some way. Now think about future students, I earnestly believe that it is our obligation as alumni to do whatever we can to ensure that future students have as good as or better experience at UGA as we had and that means giving back.
We do not have to wait until we are in six-figures with a bunch of Tech grads working for us to give because even 50 bucks here and there goes a long way. This university has given so much to me and has shaped me more than I ever imagined it would. The least I can do is give back as I can, what I can, when I can. I am a proud alumnus of The University of Georgia, and I intend to show that pride and gratitude by giving back.
UGA Class of 2011
President, Student Government Association 2010-2011
April 27, 2011
In the words of Mr. Tom Cochran, founder of the Arch Society “that which we do for ourselves stays with us, and that which we do for others is our legacy.”
The words of Mr. Cochran have always reminded me of the impact every person is capable of making in another’s life. I give to UGA so that someone else has the opportunity to acquire the same appreciation for the university and all the possibilities that it can fosters.
Giving to UGA through the Georgia Fund for the Alumni Association (SAA) is one way that gives students the power and privileged responsibility to make a difference to/for someone else. As a student ambassador and past employee of the Athletic Association I realize how important private and public donations are to sustaining the quality, not only, of education and lifestyle, but also of amenities. I do not know where I would have been had I not been able to rent a laptop from the SLC, or if I had not been able to ride the UGA bus around campus. These privileges may seem second nature or inept to us, but that very lack of thought is such a privilege beyond what we even know. I give because the memories and experiences I have gained at the University are priceless, and my seemingly miniscule gift can ensure someone else those same memories and experiences.
UGA is more than a great school; it is a large pool of diverse, enthusiastic, driven movers and shakers. I am glad to call it my school, and soon, my alma mater. The indescribable connection gained from being a member of UGA community is one I hope for everyone and the measures of preservation are obvious through SAA’s campaign. I am glad to be apart of a something bigger than myself.
-Nicole Shockley '11
The Arch Society
April 20, 2011
I have had an amazing college experience at the University of Georgia! UGA has given me the opportunity to get a quality education, get involved on campus, work on rewarding internships and benefit from various scholarship opportunities. My experience at UGA has been stimulating and satisfying because of the generosity of our alumni and donors—their dedication to UGA has truly made a difference in my life and helped me get an all around education. As future alumni of this great Institution, I think it is our responsibility to give back and help UGA continue its legacy and traditions.
The College of Agriculture and Environmental Science (CAES) has exposed me to outstanding faculty and research, afforded me the opportunity to attend conferences and present my research at symposiums. Through the scholarship opportunities at CAES, I was able to intern in DC last summer— it was a fantastic work experience! I will certainly remember this as one of most rewarding opportunities UGA has given me.
I have also served as a host and goodwill ambassador to the University through the Arch Society; we recently inaugurated the Arch Society legacy room in the Tate Center. The Arch Society now has a new, permanent home and this would not have been possible without generous donations from our alumni. Donations from Arch Society’s alumni also helps fund our black blazers, retreats, and different committees etc. -- their kindness helps the Arch Society continue its glorious traditions and serve UGA and the Athens community!
I truly hope we continue giving back to the institution that has given us SO much and help UGA fulfill its mission of providing good, quality education to all its students.
-Shruti Suresh '11
The Arch Society
April 11, 2011
I am a strong believer in the concept of paying it forward. Giving back just a small portion of what you have been blessed with is extremely important to the sustainability of our institution. With cuts to education funds increasing every day, giving a donation is crucial now more than ever. We must ensure that those students who follow us are granted an even brighter future than we had.
I remember a little over a year ago being accepted into the Terry School of Business. I felt overwhelmed at all the opportunities available to me of which I could get involved. Through recommendations from friends and conducting my own research, I chose to get involved with the Terry Ambassador program, the Institute for Leadership Advancement’s certificate program and several other organizations around campus. My involvement with these organizations over the past year helped to shape my growth as a student leader on campus. I came in to the Terry School of Business as a quiet, introverted accounting student, but I have emerged as a confident individual that realizes the importance of making an impact on the lives of others. I have recommended these programs to multiple students who are in a similar situation as mine a year ago.
Many of those programs would not be possible without the help of private donations from alumni, students and other donors. It surprised me that 20% of UGA’s budget is comprised of private giving. Out of that 20%, a little over 2% comes from student giving. For students of our caliber, I believe this is simply unacceptable. The programs that assist in enhancing the value of our degrees desperately need our donations to stay strong and provide the most to our Bulldawg nation. We are all students and do not yet have the funds to give a great deal of money, but saving as little as 50 cents a day for a little more than a month is all it takes to provide a fellow student with memorable college experience. If you have ever contemplated whether or not you should give, take a moment to ponder all the opportunities you have been afforded that were made possible through the donations of others. Give back just a little of what this institution has provided to you.
-Rischa Releford `12
March 31, 2011
Donating to our University is more important than I think most students know. 20% of UGA's operating budget comes from donors such as ourselves, and it's now more important than ever that we show our support! A donation is much more than just writing a check, it's about giving back to a University that has given you so much. A University that has given you countless experiences that will forever be remembered.
The Terry College of Business is a second home to me. Without the overwhelming support of students and private donors, this experience would not have been the same. The University provides an amazing education and I feel fully prepared as I head into the job market.
It is my hope that all students past and present can unite together and ensure that future students have the same quality of education as we have enjoyed.
-Justin Mann `11
UGA Relay for Life Executive Director
March 28, 2011
I love the Georgia Bulldogs and will always bleed red and black till the day I die. With that being said I love to give back to the University of Georgia and the community as a whole to let everyone know that UGA is the best school in the southeast if not one of the top university in the country.
I am the currently the President of Rotaract (college Rotary) which is a business based service organization dedicated to helping the community through philanthropies and citizenship. I have worked very closely with Deborah Dietzler, the Executive Director for Alumni Relations, who has been an inspiration to me through her leadership as the advisor for Rotaract. The mentorship that she has provided for me through the Alumni Association and the Rotary are un-paralleled. These student programs and many other student organizations would not be possible with out the help of incredible UGA faculty and the private giving that makes up 20% of the overall UGA budget. I aspire to become a leader in the commercial real estate industry after graduation but would never have been fashioned into the leader that I am now without all of the resources made available at UGA, only made possible by private donations.
I have worked hard this semester to continue to build on the brand name of UGA by always being a leader in service above self. The ways that the 120 UGA student service leaders in Rotaract give back are through volunteering with The Boys and Girls Club, Habitat for Humanity, Friends for Life Mentorship program, The Food Bank of North East Georgia, Food Drives, Greenway, Animal Shelters, road clean ups with the Student Alumni Association and various projects with the Rotary. The Rotary has always been a passion and inspiration of mine through my family and further developed through Deborah Dietzler. I plan to continue to serve in leadership for the remainder of my time here at UGA and in the Rotary after college. None of the programs that we implement here through the student alumni association would be possible without funding from alumni and students every year. I give back to UGA through my personal student donation to the Georgia Fund so that I can further give back to the Athens community with everything that UGA provides. This continues to create opportunities for students after me, which I have not previously had in the past, to keep raising the bar and pushing the limits of what the Bulldog Nation can accomplish.
The idea of bringing UGA together through leadership in service with the current student body makes me want to Hunker Down. It is one thing to know that you are part of 92,746 fans “Calling the Dawgs” at Sanford Stadium but it’s an entirely different animal when you know that there are hundreds of thousands of people to have graduated before you and there are hundreds of thousands that will graduate after you in the future. I want to make sure that this Bulldog Nation is able to enjoy all the same opportunities that I do today and beyond. My joy through school, student programs, events and life as a UGA student are all completed into one through the legacy that has been laid before me. This legacy is made possible from alumni and student donations. I want to become part of this legacy knowing that I will soon be part of the alumni Georgia family that has touched me through their giving, wisdom and experience in life. This is not only enough for me but should be enough for anyone else, proud to say that I am Georgia.
-Maximillian Gutierrez `11
UGA Rotaract President
To me The University of Georgia is one deeply rooted in its rich traditions that all thewhile serves as a catalyst; constantly inciting and demanding innovation, creativity, and ingenuity through wisdom, justice, and moderation from all who enter it. It is a challenge issued to each of us to be truly committed to excellence in all of our endeavors while striving to maintain the pride, loyalty, and tradition of the Bulldog Nation. As Vice President for the Student Alumni Council, the questions that I get from fellow students most are: “why should I give?” and “what does my donation go towards and what will I get out of it?” which are very important questions.
Personally, I give to the University of Georgia because I KNOW that my contributions will help carry on the traditions that make this University an Alma Mater that I can be proud of as they enable us to keep pushing forward. During my time at UGA I have personally seen the impact of donations on a daily basis and know that my college experience would not have been the same without them. As a science major, I have seen the unrestricted fund help send my classmates to national conferences to present their research. As a member of the Redcoat Band I have seen donations purchase new uniforms and instruments thus helping create the epic atmosphere we all live for on game day between the hedges. More than anything, I appreciate that the donations I make to the unrestricted fund go to help in those areas where help is needed the most. Whether it is helping fund a scholarship, making more resources available to students, or merely helping plant a tree on south campus that a student years from now will come to appreciate as a great place to take a nap or an inspiring place to study, I give because it makes a meaningful difference. More importantly, I give because I care about this university and the experience that future students will have here before they pass through the arch.
-Christina Swoope '11
SAC Vice President
March 21, 2011
Regardless of your religious stance, there’s an amazing financial principle espoused in Jesus Christ’s sermon on the mount. Quite simply, the principle connects money with the cares and desires of the human condition:
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” – Matthew 6:21
This principle carries incredible weight. Essentially, where I put my dollars ultimately affects what I think and care about. Let me explain with a brief anecdote.
When I graduated from high school (a long four years ago), I took some of my graduation money and made a very modest investment in the stock market. Now, it’s worth noting that before graduation, I couldn’t have cared less about the financial world. Seriously. I was dead-set on a career in medicine and the science world that encased it. But, strangely enough, after I made that investment, I found myself checking the stock performance listings regularly. In fact, I ultimately started watching the news and learning about the market just to get a better grasp on the stocks performance as a whole. Before I knew it I was drawn into a world very foreign to me all because of very small investment I made in just a few stocks. As I continued to dive deeper into the financial sector, you would have assumed that my life savings was invested in those companies. It’s as if my entire future rested on their performance. In another sense, it’s as if I placed a part of my heart in the trust of these companies.
Sounds a little silly, huh? I mean, maybe I just really liked the finance concept and that’s what drew me in? But after I got to thinking about this principle and my other investments, I found that it applied widely: the things I had given my money too (regardless of any kind of expected return) I cared about and sought to keep abreast on. I cared more about the church that I gave to regularly, the repairs to my car that I fitted the bill for, and even the philanthropic events to which I had made donations (again, small but personally meaningful). As soon as I was willing to depart with my money (no matter how large or small) I immediately became interested in the cause that money was supporting or the item that it purchased. Crazy, I know. But undoubtedly true. Giving my money away was especially revealing. I became enthralled by Relay for Life after making a donation for a friend one year and fell in love with a local health clinic for the uninsured after making a Christmas-time donation on behalf of a friend. It’s as if my money was somehow linked to my heartstrings and when I chose to give it away these strings were tugged in the direction of the organization to which I gave it.
By now you’re probably asking though, “Trey, why are you preaching and what’s the point of telling me all this?” Well, what I find so interesting is the fact that we can leverage this principle for our own benefit. I have had incredible experiences in my last four years of undergraduate studies at the University of Georgia and my heart is fully invested in the many people, programs, and wonders that this university has to offer. As I graduate, however, I know that this commitment will gradually fade. The hustle and bustle of the world will slowly reduce my blazing passion for this school into mere embers overtime. Fortunately, I know a principle that can keep a significant portion of my heart invested in this institution and its purposes: simply give back. No matter how much or little I give, the above principle tells me that my heart will follow. And that’s so wonderful. That means that I forever can maintain a special place in my life for this university and the people that make it so great by just giving small portions of my money.
My challenge to you is this: join me. Give back. Give a lot. Give a little. It doesn’t matter. Just give. Just give and let a piece of your heart happily reside at this deeply special place forever.
-Trey Sinyard `11
Homecoming King 2010
As President of the Student Alumni Council, I have had the unique and distinct pleasure of meeting with alumni relations and development professionals, student leaders and members of the Alumni Association Board of Directors over the past year to talk about a shift that has occurred at the University of Georgia. As many of you may know, when a student donates to become a part of the Student Alumni Association/Senior Signature, they are now donating to our annual giving fund called the Georgia Fund. As a student, I was asked to provide feedback on behalf of the student body several times as we began the process of transitioning. As those discussions began, I had several of the questions that many students express today. Why should a student donate to their university when they already pay tuition and fees? However, what I have come to realize is that tuition and state fees only cover 54% of our budget. If the university were to run on those resources alone, the university would cease operations around February every academic year. Private donations and grants constitute about 20% of our budget. Many of the special programs including Commencement, Dawg Camp, graduate assistantships, Dinner with a Dozen Dawgs, and professorships are created as a result of these private gifts. Private gifts are what make a good university a great university and the University of Georgia deserves to be a great university.
In an effort to foster a culture of giving amongst students, I have asked several students leaders, whom I deeply respect, to share their story and explain why they donate to the Student Alumni Association/Senior Signature campaign year after year as a student. As a peer, I understand that you may have a frugal budget to work with. When you come across some cash in your pocket, giving to UGA usually is not on the top of your list. However, I firmly believe in giving back to my university. I find it to be a privilege. Time and money are the greatest gifts that you can give to an institution that has helped each of us, as students, grow and mature. For many of us, we have found our best friends in the Residence Halls, the love of our life in the Dining Halls (food or a significant other), grew as leaders within Campus Life and inquired into the nature of things in the classroom. Without a doubt, we as students would not have had the same level of experiences without the support of private donations.
I hope that you enjoy this new endeavor from the Student Alumni Council and if you have any suggestions or would like to share your story, do not hesitate to contact me at email@example.com or the Student Alumni Council Advisor, Julie Cheney, at firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope that you always remember the University of Georgia and that the bulldog nation is bonded together by three very strong values - wisdom, justice, and moderation.
Glory, Glory to old Georgia!
-Alan Goodno `11
The Student Alumni Council President