Philanthropy Week pays it forward


by Kylee Hereid, reporter

Thousands of students have studied at Simpson College since it was founded in 1860, but for many graduates, their experience did not end on graduation day. A Simpson organization hosted events last week meant to educate current students on how the college’s alumni base is involved.

Simpson’s Student Alumni Association (SAA) hosted Philanthropy Week, a series of events meant to bring awareness to current students of what it means to be good alumni, able to give back to the college through time, talent and treasure.

This year’s theme for the week was Paying It Forward.

Andy English, director of alumni relations and advisor to SAA, said, “Whether it is receiving the ID magazine, receiving newsletters, donating to the Simpson fund or visiting the website to see how the basketball team has been playing, being a good alum is a matter of staying involved and knowing your experience doesn’t end after four years.”

One of the biggest events was the Polar Bare Run, where students were asked to run and strip clothing to donate. SAA is donating these clothing items to Central Iowa Shelter and Services where people in need can receive the items without having to pay money.

Alex Cutchey, junior philosophy and marketing major and president of SAA, said the Polar Bare Run is beneficial to campus because it has a measureable impact on others and also gives students a tradition they can look back on after they graduate.

Only a small group of students participated, partially due to the harsh temperatures, but many people still donated clothing for the event. SAA is still accepting donations and hope to add more bags to the already large pile taking space in English’s office.

Cutchey said the Polar Bare Run was his favorite event. “We didn’t get as much participation as we wanted but it was fun to plan and fun to be a part of.”

English also said, “We are thrilled and thankful for the people who brought clothing.”

The organization wanted to educate students on how far tuition goes to pay for the school to operate.

English graduated from Simpson in 2005 majoring in marketing and corporate communications. He said when he attended the college he assumed tuition money kept the school running year-round. This, according to English, is a common misconception.

To address this idea, SAA held a Stop Tuition Date challenge, asking students to guess what day the school would close its doors if it ran only on tuition. The closest five guesses won a college bookstore gift card.

According to English, many students and alumni are surprised when they learn school doors would close on December 26th if only run by tuition money. The college relies also on grants and alumni donation.

 “Tuition only goes so far to pay for our experience at Simpson,” Cutchey said. “I am here on scholarships and wouldn’t be able to attend Simpson without that, so it’s a way to give back and give thanks in a way that honors the college and the alumni who make my experience possible.”

Other events included a photo scavenger hunt, a “Why I love SC” wall, thank you letter writing for scholarship donors, Pay It Forward change donation and the Simpson Couch Photo booth.

In addition to providing events for students to build alumni relations and support, a program is being resurrected this May for Simpson graduates.

According to English, Simpson used to have a tradition where alumni would participate in travel programs similar to a student’s May-term study abroad.

Starting May 29 and ending June 14, 30 Simpson Alumni will be traveling to Germany. English hopes this program will prove beneficial and will take place at least every other year.

“Studying abroad is a really important part of Simpson and it is nice that we can continue to offer those experiences to our alumni as well,” English said. “Germany is a beautiful country and it should be a lot of fun.”

Overall, both English and Cutchey are happy with SAA’s accomplishments during Philanthropy week and they look forward to continue educating the campus and working with current and future alumni of Simpson.

“In anything you do, its important to be invested,” Cutchey said. “When you leave school and graduate, make sure you still have ties to Simpson and do your best to support it in any way you can.”