College classes seem demanding while taking them, but after graduation, many alumni look back with fondness on their alma mater. Appreciation may be strong enough to encourage graduates to give back to the educational institution that molded their career path. While monetary donations are one of the most popular and easy ways to support higher education, consider the following especially meaningful ways to contribute to your alma mater.
Returning to campus as a volunteer for special events is a great way to demonstrate support and loyalty. Colleges and universities appreciate alums that donate time and skills to annual events that raise awareness of the institution or foster community interaction. Volunteers show how much the college experience meant to them by their willingness to give back, while usually having lots of fun in reconnecting with former classmates and faculty.
Providing positive online reviews at the college website or other higher education review sites supports the recruitment effort that is vital for colleges to succeed. Referring coworkers or social media friends to your alma mater is another way to help build enrollment. Many believe that word-of-mouth praise is the most effective marketing tool, influencing more people than college catalogs and advertising campaigns. Telling high school students what to expect and how to prepare based on your experience often encourages them to apply to the same school that they now have some knowledge of.
Perhaps the greatest compliment a college graduate can bestow on a college or university is accepting a career position on campus. If a position becomes available in a graduate’s field, such as a degree in library science, for example, a recent graduate who decides to apply for the job reveals a sense of trust in the organization as well as gratitude in planning a professional future. This type of mutual support builds strong relationships across campus and within communities from one generation to the next. It sets a good example of the university turning out graduates it is willing to hire, thus representing a quality education.
Most people never forget their college days, which creates special memories and sometimes life-long friendships. Being able to give back in ways like these illustrates a mutually-edifying relationship that may continue for years to come. In addition, these relationships often influence others to appreciate the institution and the lives it changes on a daily and yearly basis. Giving back is the ultimate return-on-investment that becomes a win-win for everyone.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.