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Charity and Spitefulness

Sometimes I am not the Better Man

Every year my alma mater calls me and asks for me to donate money to them, to help keep it one of the leading schools in Canada. Most years, I will give some small amount as I feel a slight obligation to help out the school. The degree that I paid for and earned there has helped me a great deal in finding jobs and gave me great experience in the co-op program.

This seems to have all changed this year, with my daughter applying to my alma mater in a program that she is very keen to work in (Kinesiology).

I read my Alumni newsletter and saw that this school will actually send out over 24,000 acceptance letters to prospective new undergrads, so they can actually get a freshman class of about 6,000 students. So, I thought her chances were good. However, I was mistaken.

We waited a good long time, and finally, she received a polite note saying that her application for the program had been denied, but they said she did been accepted into a somewhat similar program (Recreation & Leisure Studies). I think this upset my daughter because I think she wanted to attend her Dad’s old school (she has seen the campus a few times and has heard my many stories of the fun I had at the school), and if I am being honest, I was disappointed as well.

I guess that the program she applied to does not have a large undergrad class (I think it is around 200 or so kids), and the competition for these spots is very hard-fought.

My daughter has been accepted at another fine school in the Maritimes in Wolfville, and I hope she has as much fun getting a degree and going to University as I did.

This all being said, I have this nagging feeling that the next time a cheerful undergrad calls from Kitchener’s finest University, I may not be as polite and as giving as I have previously been. I probably will not explain to the caller my reasons why I will decline to give my former school money, because they are not who I have issues with.

Is this being petty and childish on my part yes, very much so. Did my daughter not get in due to her not having sufficient marks to get in to the program yes, I think that may be the case. Is this a valid reason not to support my former school financially? Yes, because it is my money.

Was this a rant, or was I hopping on to my own little soapbox to decry something that upsets me? Guilty as charged. I do, however, point out that giving money to the countless charities that hound me for my hard-earned money is a hard-fought competition, and maybe in this situation, my Alma Mater has failed to live up to my high standards as well (yes, another childish comment by me).

Feel free to comment about how I should be a better person. I have been quite “preachy” in other areas, so I am ready to take my dressing down like a man (another interesting turn of phrase).

Feel Free to Comment

  1. My parent’s alma mater didn’t let me into the program I wanted either. Where I ended up going and what I ended up doing instead was an amazing experience. I know it’s a disappointment now, but someday you and your daughter may be thankful for that rejection letter.

    @Big Cajun wife — trust me, there’s no green space left! I should note, however, that it is possible to specify to which faculty your donation goes. I feel the same way you do about donating to the university, but I often wonder if more arts grads donated maybe the arts faculty would have more money?

  2. I guess the question is do you see your Alma mater as a “charity” that “needs” your donation to survive. I recall pretty hefty bills being delivered to my parents house. Universities “want” our money, and use our feelings and memories to try to solicit funds from us. I was an Arts student, maybe I have no interest in helping them build yet another CS building on what little green space there is left.

    Not willing to donate……..

  3. No dressing down from me. I have the same alma mater, and but I don’t donate. I see how much money the university gets from government funding and corporate donations, yet that money never seems to trickle down to the departments that nurtured my passions and career. I don’t feel right throwing money into some big pool that won’t help the people who helped me, but it’s my dream one day to establish a small scholarship or award to directly benefit students in those departments.

    For now, I’m still paying off the student loan…

  4. It’s your choice to do with your money, but the college has something that you don’t in this case: objectivity.

    It’s your right do with your money as you please. Yes, I do think you’re being childish, but I admit, I get childish about things I shouldn’t either, so I don’t fault you. My guess is that even if you withhold your contributions, you’ll kick it back in next year after you have a chance to cool down.

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