Supporting Laurier through donations

Photo by Jessica Dik
Photo by Jessica Dik

Posters sprung up around Wilfrid Laurier University filled with facts and anecdotes related to donating to the institution.

Tag Day, where students can post pictures of themselves with the numerous tags posted around campus for a chance at winning prizes, is part of a yearly initiative to bring awareness to the Laurier community about the importance of philanthropic donations.

Many of the posters showcased testimonies from Laurier alumni who themselves became donors, lauding the many benefits donations brought to both academic and student experience.

“The university’s donors are alumni, obviously, so graduates of Laurier. But there’s lots of corporations, foundations, friends, faculty and staff, parents of students. And when I say friends, I’m meaning people that have a relationship with Laurier, but maybe they didn’t necessarily graduate from here,” said Julia Thomson, communication manager, development and alumni relations.

“Having students, where they can contribute financially, especially when they graduate and things like that, it’s a great way for students to show their appreciation or their love of Laurier in making the university better for the students that are coming after them.”

The remainder of the posters featured relevant facts regarding philanthropy at Laurier in recent years, including information ranging from over 500 faculty and staff donating back to the school out of pocket, to the statement that tuition payments cover only half of the cost of a student attending the institution.

The campaign was intended to impress upon the Laurier community the importance that donations play within the institution’s finances.

“We’ve all heard about the funding constraints that we have from the provincial government, we know students are at times struggling to cover tuition, living expenses, books, all of the associated cost with their education,” said Thomson.

“Being able to have donors’ support, whether it’s through scholarships, or bursaries, or funding classrooms or spaces on campus, or funding programs, that’s incredibly important for the university.”

With such an array of outlets available for donations to be funnelled into, there has been an increasing trend amongst donors to specify where they would like their funds directed.

When making their donation, the option is available for funds to be either deposited into the university’s greatest need reserve, which can be used by the school for any opportunity or need they see fit, or to be directed towards a particular department, program or project. Though donations are imperative to the continuation of the student experience at Laurier, the campaign’s organizers felt that monetary contributions are not the sole means by which alumni and Laurier community members could help support the institution.

“There are lots of other ways for people to stay connected with Laurier, or support Laurier,” said Thomson.

“Whether it is recruiting students as employers, or as co-op employers, or just being a good ambassador for Laurier and talking about it with their colleagues and friends. Coming back and speaking to classes, volunteering for different career nights or things like that.”

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