From Shopping to Giving — Support GIVING TUESDAY

As we move into Thanksgiving-Hanukkah week, many of us are struggling to finish academic work (studying, writing papers, grading) while also thinking about the holidays to come. The newspapers have squeezed out even more substance to make room for advertisements, and we may also find ourselves thinking of the gifts we have to buy. We have plenty of encouragement to do so. After all, there is Black Friday, when we are to line up early to grab deals in our favorite stores. Then there is Cyber Monday — when we can feel hipper about rushing to find gadgets without having to line up with the techless.

A couple of years ago, The 92nd St Y helped launch Giving Tuesday, an effort to turn attention away from buying stuff we may not need to giving resources to those who really do need them. This is from the organization’s website:

We have a day for giving thanks. We have two for getting deals. This year help us create #GivingTuesday. A new day for giving back.  On Tuesday December 3, 2013, global charities, families, businesses, community centers, students and more will come together to create #GivingTuesday.

It’s a simple idea. Just find a way for your family, your community, your company or your organization to come together to give something more. Then tell everyone you can about how you are giving. Be a part of a national celebration of our great tradition of generosity.

Wesleyan signed on as a partner institution for Giving Tuesday this year. On that day, Tuesday, Dec. 3, the Wesleyan Fund is conducting a one-day campaign to support our alma mater through contributions. Your gift through the Fund, no matter how small, helps the university with its current needs, including financial aid. Without the $5, $10 and $25 gifts from thousands of alumni (that accumulate to more than $10 million each year), the Wesleyan experience would not be what it is.

Of course, there are many worthy causes to support on Giving Tuesday. If Wesleyan is our cause, we are likely to have many others. From supporting the fight against long-term perils like climate change and extreme poverty to dealing with acute crises like the situation in the Philippines, there are many ways to participate in Giving Tuesday. As we celebrate the holidays, let’s remember to sustain our causes with energetic generosity! Whether you support financial aid at Wesleyan or other great organizations led by Wes alums, like  SHOFCO, MINDS, RefugePoint, Brighter Dawns; tutoring in Traverse Square; or volunteering at Green Street Art Center and Macdonough School… PLEASE PARTICIPATE in Giving Tuesday.

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2 thoughts on “From Shopping to Giving — Support GIVING TUESDAY

  1. President Roth mentions twice in the above post that we can support financial aid at Wesleyan by donating to the University today.

    What Michael Roth doesn’t mention is that 68% of every gift earmarked for financial aid gets drafted into the general operating budget, and only 32% of such gifts actually goes to improving the University’s financial aid budget. This is a dismaying betrayal of trust.

    It is brazen for Michael Roth and the Wesleyan PR folks to encourage us to support financial aid at Wesleyan the year after Roth and the Board took unprecedented steps to erode access and decrease spending on financial aid, by ending Wesleyan’s policy of admitting students on a “Need-Blind” basis (wherein students were admitted based solely on their promise as applicants, without knowledge of their ability to pay).

    This year’s freshman class, the first admitted under the new “Need-Aware” admissions policy, which actively discriminates against poor students, contains 6% fewer students receiving grant aid, 4% fewer first generation college students, and 3% fewer black students, as well as smaller percentages of students from everywhere outside of New England than the previous year’s class. (Citation:

    Given Wesleyan’s diversion of financial aid contributions to the general operating budget, and given President Roth and the Board’s historic erosion of access for poor students in the last year, I cannot believe that their appeals for donations to financial aid are in good faith.

    Moreover, I think it is clear that any donations we alumnae make this year constitute no more than a vote of confidence in the University’s priorities, which are at present profoundly misguided.

    I would like to encourage my fellow alums, seniors, parents, and others in the extended Wesleyan family that this year we can do more to make Wesleyan the best it can be by vocally refusing to donate to the annual fund, than by donating.

    I am convinced that vocally refusing to donate is the best way to convince Wesleyan that it is in it its interest to listen to its progressive alumnae, and to adopt a more inclusive and ethical set of fiscal priorities.

    I encourage you fellow alums to call or email Michael Roth (, John Meerts ( 860/685-2607), and Alumnae Relations (860-685-3933), explaining why you’ve chosen not to donate this year, and to advocate for a change of priorities.

    Let’s encourage these decision-makers at the University to ask us again to donate when they are ready to commit to a set of ethical priorities for the University that inspires us and that makes us believe once again that Wesleyan is a cause worth supporting.

  2. The assertion that we use 68% of gifts to financial aid for the general operating budget is simply false. Gifts for financial aid go 100% to financial aid.

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