I’m a firm believer in giving back to your college. I received so much in both formal and informal education during my four years in college, I naturally want others to reap the same rewards I did. It’s because of this that I think that if you’re able to, you should not only give back to your college alma mater the gift of money, but also the gift of time.
You might not think of it this way, but you should value your college diploma like a share of stock. Graduates should want to see their alma maters grow in stature, and one way to help out is by giving back. Unfortunately, not enough alumni are giving back to their colleges these days — and it shows.
Giving back with our money and our time helps support the next generation of students and alumni. When we give back to our colleges, that money goes toward research, scholarships, and new facilities, among other things. It helps increase the stature of the college, making it a better place. Our giving back also affects how employers, grad schools and others see our alma maters.
Giving Back’ Doesn’t Have to Mean Money
We often forget that our time is valuable and can be almost as important as any donation we make to our alma maters. Human capital is just as beneficial to the sustained vitality of a university and can be just as important, if not more, than purely financial support.
When we give back to your college alma maters, we get a sense of satisfaction in knowing that we’re furthering the aims of the institution that did so much to educate us and give us a better life.
Alumni typically give back to their schools in proportion to their own gratitude and success. There may be a correlation to poor giving and the realization that our undergraduate degree directly led to a portion of our success.
But should this always be the case? One reason that colleges don’t enjoy higher alumni giving is that their graduates often fail to connect the dots of their success to their alma mater.
Giving Back Makes Us Sharper, Too
Education is a never-ending process. We continue to learn even after we graduate. And nothing is often more apparent than when we give back to our alma maters.
Rebecca Stilwell is president of O’More College of Design and a former managing director with Morgan Stanley. “I heard one of our best professors say that he loves teaching because it makes him sharper in his field,” she says. “It keeps him current. And every great teacher will say they get more out of teaching than the students.”
What better way to stay relevant, sharp, and challenged than to spend time with your alma mater?
Giving Back Helps Your Own Reputation
Helping improve the stature of our alma maters can have a second and third-order effect on our own lives and the perceived value of our own college diploma.
Whether it’s giving our money or our time, we should all want to see our alma maters thrive. Doing so can only help our own lot in life.
“We all want to make the world a better place,” Shari Fox, executive vice president of O’More College of Design. “By sharing our time and talent and money with colleges, we do a bit of good and can even change lives by helping a worthy student earn a college education.”
Note: This article originally appeared on AOL Daily Finance and is reprinted with permission. See the full article on AOL Daily Finance.