The Hidden Force Behind Our Student Experience

Photo of Emily SutherlandThis upcoming winter, I will begin my third year of Arts and Business with a major in Psychology. I am currently on my second co-op work term, where I am working for the University of Waterloo’s Office of Advancement.  In my role as an Advancement Assistant, I had the exciting opportunity to help organize the 2014 President’s Reception, an annual donor recognition event that thanks the individuals whose generosity enhances our student experience.

Before I worked in Advancement, I didn’t really understand how many of my amazing experiences at the University are made possible because of these donors, many of whom are Waterloo Alumni. I am grateful for my Advancement role, where I’ve had the chance to interact and engage with many remarkable individuals, both alumni and friends of the University. My awareness of the role philanthropy plays in the student experience and the importance of charity during the season of giving has increased significantly. From scholarships to lecture halls, even the co-op jobs I have worked, none of these things would exist without the contributions of our donors.

Advancement TeamI would rather not entertain the thought of my future until it is right in front of my face, but my convocation isn’t as far away as I would like it to be. Now is the time to start considering what my relationship with the University of Waterloo will be like once I’ve completed my time here. When I think back on all the different ways that I can be involved as an alumna, I remember the Arts Alumni Entrance Scholarship that I received when I first arrived at Waterloo. It made a huge impact on my first year experience, allowing me to focus on my academics and balance the distractions that come with living away from home for the first time. My finances were no longer a concern, and I have the Arts alumni to thank for that. I realize that this is how I can stay engaged, long after I’ve accepted my diploma.  I have the power to create an opportunity for students, to make their Waterloo experience as enjoyable the way the Arts alumni and so many other wonderful individuals have done for me.

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