“I’m impressed by the response of Olivet’s students when it comes to philanthropy,” says Jenny Schoenwetter ’13 (LeRoy, Ill.). Before graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business administration this May, she served as president for the first year of Olivet’s Student Philanthropy Council.
Working with Dr. Houston Thompson, faculty sponsor and chair of the Department of Social Work and Criminal Justice, and Jean Martin ’73, director of annual giving, Jenny led the structuring, organizing, planning and work for the inaugural year.
“This experience has given our students the opportunity to experience firsthand the results of philanthropic giving,” says Jean, who worked closely with the Council. “They have also learned more about the power of many people working together for a common cause. I believe that each one of those involved will look at scholarships in an entirely different way in the future.”
Structure with a purpose
The Council was organized into three units or teams.
Student 4 Student, designed to educate students about ways to raise funds for student scholarships, was chaired by Jamie Hill ’13 (social work major, Swanton, Ohio). Sponsored activities included:
• A booth at Block Party to raise awareness about scholarship funding
• Tuition Free Day to recognize and celebrate the gifts of staff, faculty, alumni and friends of the University toward scholarships
• An opportunity for seniors to recognize important people in their lives by donating $5 (per person or couple they wanted to recognize) to support scholarships. Gifts were given by 58 seniors.
Endowment and Development, chaired by Ashley Miller (senior, social work major, Spring Hill, Kan.), worked with the ONU Foundation to set up an endowment for funding grants.
Grants, chaired by Paige Schwartz ’13 (social work major, Leo, Ind.), created the grant process, including the criteria, application process and follow-up reporting process. Students applied for grants to fund the projects they were working on. From the eight applications received, the Council chose four projects to fund. Each project group was responsible for filing a follow-up report with the Council.
Results to celebrate
In 2013, four scholarships were funded through Student 4 Student by gifts from Olivet students — with matching funds given by 50-year graduates. Current Olivet students receiving these scholarships were: Megan Olson (freshman, Sandwich, Ill.); Brandon Brown (sophomore, St. Louis, Mo.); Alyssa Alt (junior, Adrian, Mich.); and Dana Peterson (senior, Rockton, Ill.).
Student projects that received grants from the Council were:
1. Nursing Student Association —A grant for providing refreshments at the Red Cross Blood Drive that the group hosted on campus
2. Mission Possible — A grant for providing devotional booklets that the group then distributed as part of their prison ministry
3. ONU Tigers men’s and women’s tennis teams — A grant to help support the campus kids’ day that the teams hosted for students from Steuben Elementary School in Kankakee
4. Best Buddies — A grant to purchase T-shirts for participants in the Volleyball Gymboree tournament that the group hosted for residents of Shapiro Developmental Center in Kankakee. With friends and family members cheering from the stands, 80 athletes participated in this event. Each athlete received a T-shirt, designed by Associated Student Council’s Office of Publicity, and a certificate of participation as a memory of the day.
“The gym was filled with smiling faces as the athletes showcased their talents,” says Emma Reutter ’13 (marketing and business administration double major, Mason, Mich.), outgoing president of Olivet's Best Buddies chapter.
“This was a very sunny Saturday, but it was sunnier in that gymnasium!” added Jane Reutter, Emma’s mother. “What a beautiful event, simply a joy to be a part of it.”