Every August, students have the opportunity of attending the annual Activities Fair, in which a variety of campus organizations and clubs come out to promote their groups to hundreds of students. As a new student, this is one of the best ways to immediately get involved on campus, and it is something that students remember throughout the years.
So what if the University of Tulsa and Student Association in particular hosted a Charity Fair in May as one last push to encourage all students, staff and faculty to donate money before the summer break began? Just think about the incredible impact that this could have on our community and the positive image that it could bring TU within the Tulsa area. Even further, what if the money donated by students didn’t come out of their pockets, and instead was money that would slip through their fingers at the end of the year if it weren’t spent?
At the end of each year, Presidential Scholarship students, as well as those who have purchased meal plans with dining dollars, are forced to purchase all of the left over junk food at the C-Store, every remaining Subway gift card in the store and every juice-making and pasta cooking utensil at the McFarlin Coffee Shop in order to ensure that their money is not left to the university.
The amount of money awarded to Presidential scholars varies depending on their year, with non-meal plan students receiving roughly $2300 per semester in dining dollars. For me, a non-Presidential scholar, my jaw drops at this vast amount of money readily available at their fingertips and the thought of this money just being returned to the university.
This is where I see change possible on our campus. This is our chance, as a university, to make a difference in our community and to impact the 3,869 non-profit organizations in Tulsa County, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Charity Fair would be an event hosted on campus in which local non-profit organizations and charities would be brought in, and students would be given the chance to donate their remaining dining dollars to whichever organization they choose.
The money wouldn’t be coming out of students’ pockets, and we would be giving back incredible amounts of money to the Tulsa community and doing our part in paying it forward. In doing so we would not only improve TU and our outreach efforts but also give back to the surrounding community from which we draw such overwhelming support. What better way to elevate TU than to also lift up those around us?