by Kevin Cops ’18
Although the Friars Give day on Tuesday, March 28 may be viewed from an objective perspective as meeting the goals prescribed by the Office of Institutional Development, the constant reminders and badgering of students about donating money in the middle of a busy school week and right before the Relay for Life event seemed like a poor choice of timing.
The blown-up fanfare and the exaggerated importance of student donations made the entire event appear artificial, as simply another strained attempt to milk more money from students and somehow justify added alumni donations.
For all the money that students must spend in order to attend Providence College, the school’s asking for added donations appears tasteless. Students pay enough money through tuition, fees, dorm charges, and meal plans. The school’s looking for extra money from the students shows that they are clearly willing to prioritize the desires of alumni, who get to see their names all over campus, over the financial stability of their students.
Certain alumni’s wishes to only match the amounts raised by students and other participants seem merely like a ploy on the part of the college to get every dollar possible. It is a rather convenient situation for the college when alumni only want to donate money if the students and faculty will also be asked and expected to give a specific amount. The marketing strategy to use the alumni’s donations as motivation for the students adds salt to the wound that is opened when the school asks the people paying $60,000 a year to reach a little deeper into their pockets.
Besides the alumni’s promises as incentives, the school also employed some other intriguing strategies to attempt to convince students to donate. There were donuts in the morning and a vast amount of burritos in the afternoon, followed by chicken fingers and fries later in the evening. A DJ played for a significant portion of the day as well.
Did all that money spent on food and music bring in a large amount of donations, or was it more likely that the cash-strapped and often-hungry college students swarmed to the food without sparing a penny? It does not seem like paying a lot of money to milk a little bit more from students was a well-reasoned decision.
With so much money doled out to accessorize the event, the importance of the money the school said it needed from the students felt seriously diminished. Why spend so much and ask for more when you can just not spend in the first place?
Then there were the emails. Students could count four different emails from the development office reminding them to give money that day. By the time the fourth email was read, many students were tired of being pestered; the whole day had felt like the awkward situation of telling an ex-boyfriend “no” over and over again. Many students were more likely to feel pity when receiving that fourth email rather than an actual desire to walk to Slavin and donate.
The timing of the Friars Give day also clashed severely with Relay for Life, another event that aims to raise money for a worthy cause. With students being as cash-strapped as they are, it is unreasonable to expect that donations to the school three days earlier would not harm the number and size of donations at the Relay event. Schedulers of both events should have coordinated much more closely to ensure that the events would not harm each other.
The first annual Friars Give day seems like a nice event on the surface, but the exaggerated importance of student donations seemed forced and merely another attempt by the College to extract more money out of students.
The annoying emails, emphasis on big alumni donations, and the strange contradiction of vast financial resources being used to support a monetary campaign that will “raise support,” makes one wonder how necessary the event really was for students.