Blog: The Educated Reporter

College fundraising and the shame factor.

Wow. Just wow. Rachel Louise Ensign of the Chronicle of Higher Ed reports how students at two colleges shame classmates who do not give to school fund drives.

As much as I liked my college, and as much as a friend of mine begged me to give, I stopped making alumni contributions when my favorite professor was denied tenure. I never donated to my grad school because I hadn’t appreciated the overcrowded classes and under-challenging curriculum. I figured the tens of thousands of dollars I paid was contribution enough.

And then there’s the fact I prefer to send my charitable contributions elsewhere.

Focusing on class-participation rates in college fund drives—which is what had my friend pleading for my contribution—is a stupid form of competition. Giving choices are personal, in all sorts of ways. I am glad Ensign called attention to this and, more important, to the bigger question of whether these student gift drives are cost-efficient.