Written by Whitney Vitt. DM by Stephanie Rodriguez. [divide]
Many students at GC receive scholarships from the college, but where does this money come from? The Donor Thank You Project is an event that takes place on campus every fall, which enables students who receive scholarships from the college the opportunity to write thank you notes to Greenville College donors. This event took place Thursday, Nov. 20 in the Dinning Commons, from 8 to 10 p.m. In previous years, this event has taken place right before Halloween, but due to scheduling issues this year it was a little later, coincidentally right before Thanksgiving. Heather Fairbanks, GC’s Advancement Communications and Events Coordinator stated, “I think it’s a perfect time for students to think about being grateful for the scholarships they receive each year because real people made a decision to give money to Greenville College to help offset the costs of tuition.” In the spring, there is another Donor Thank You Project for the students who receive a scholarship that they might not have in the fall, but the number of students is much smaller so there is not a big event.
Fairbanks shared the purpose of the project when she said, “Our goal with the Donor Thank You Project is two-fold: we want to provide a real connection between the donors and those students who benefit from the donor’s gifts, and we want students who receive the scholarships to understand that there are individuals making gifts specifically to help them pay for college. It’s not just that the college is giving away free money when Financial Aid puts together a package of scholarships and grants. Alumni and friends of GC write checks and give online gifts to the Fund for Educational Excellence, which directly supports our general merit and need-based scholarships. Other students receive scholarships from endowed funds, where someone has given a large gift (over $10,000) to create a fund, and the interest earnings are then given away each year as a scholarship. Again, a real person made a sacrificial gift to help GC students, even though they would probably never get to meet those who benefit.”
96% of Greenville students receive financial aid. Junior Brent McCollum states, “This is such a good event to have. It gets students to think about what a scholarship really means. Someone is sacrificing their personal money to invest in someone they don’t even know. It’s a very selfless thing.” The next time you are looking at your student bill, remember and be thankful for the Greenville alumni and friends of the college who helped you afford your education.