Philanthropy Education Week at W&L Kicks Off March 6 The campus-wide initiative highlights the relationship between university donations and the undergraduate student experience with a week-long series of events, March 6-9.
Washington and Lee University will spotlight the relationship between university donations and the undergraduate student experience through a series of interactive programs during Philanthropy Education Week, March 6-9.
Hosted by the university’s Development Ambassadors, a student organization devoted to advancing philanthropy education among their peers, Philanthropy Education Week is designed to educate students on how philanthropic donations to W&L directly impact their undergraduate experience, as well as give students a chance to thank the university’s generous donors. Students, faculty, staff and alumni will participate in this year’s events, demonstrating a campus-wide appreciation for the range of opportunities made possible by W&L’s donors.
Programming will specifically focus on donations to the university’s Annual Fund, which immediately go to work to benefit current students. The Annual Fund impacts almost every aspect of a student’s experience including financial aid, curricular innovation, experiential and community-based learning, the arts, athletics, diversity and inclusion and student opportunities like career exploration trips, internships, study abroad and Spring Term courses.
Through interactive events including alumni panels and philanthropy trivia, students will have the opportunity to learn more about how donations shape the W&L experience and the importance of staying engaged with W&L after graduation. “So much of the W&L student experience is because of philanthropic donations,” said Abby Gilbert, assistant director of annual giving. “It’s not just about saying thank you to our donors, but understanding how philanthropy helps current students in direct and tangible ways.”
“It is such a privilege to be a student at Washington and Lee, and Philanthropy Education Week serves as an important reminder of the profound impact of philanthropy on campus,” Development Ambassador Pierson Gammage ’24 said. “Every day, we benefit from the generosity of the Annual Fund, and Philanthropy Education Week is a great opportunity to make students aware of how philanthropy impacts and betters our experience.”
Philanthropy Education Week kicks off with Trivia Taxi! on March 6, the first in a series that will take place during class changes each day of the week. Following the model of the game show Cash Cab, students will have the chance to answer philanthropy trivia questions and win a free ride to class from campus celebrities.
The first panel of the week takes place on March 6 at 7 p.m. in the Houston H. Harte Center for Teaching and Learning in Leyburn Library. Entitled “Philanthropy and the W&L Experience,” the panel will be moderated by Paul Youngman ’87, associate provost and Redenbaugh Professor of German, and feature Sybil Prince Nelson ’01, assistant professor of Mathematics; Michael Hill, director of the DeLaney Center and professor of Africana studies; Molly Steele ’04, director of career and professional development; Tahri Phillips ’23; and Megan Hess ’97, associate professor of accounting. Representing a diversity of perspectives and W&L experiences, the panelists will discuss how the Annual Fund influences the undergraduate experience and expands student opportunities on campus.
The “Young Alumni Women in Philanthropy” panel discussion will take place on March 7 at 7 p.m., also in the Harte Center, and will highlight the work and contributions of several W&L alumnae. The panel will be moderated by Liz Brown ’95 and feature Christina Lawrence ’12, Jamila Seaton ’09, Tasha Blair ’00, and Elizabeth Knapp ’90, director of the Johnson Program and professor of Earth and environmental geoscience. Panelists will share why they are excited to give back to W&L and how philanthropy has helped them stay connected to the university. The panel will also explore how staying engaged is bigger than just giving financially and how volunteering your time and talents can also have a profound impact on students’ W&L experience.
To test campus knowledge of W&L philanthropy, the Development Ambassadors will host a trivia night on March 8 at 7 p.m. in the Harte Center. There will be free food, door prizes and lively conversation about why philanthropy matters to the W&L community. Development Ambassadors will be tabling throughout the week in Elrod Commons and outside of Evans Hall (weather permitting) to help raise awareness about the ways the campus has been shaped by philanthropic initiatives. Students can stop by to learn more about how their time on campus has been influenced by Annual Fund donations and write postcards thanking donors for their contributions.
“Serving as a Development Ambassador has been a remarkably educational and fulfilling experience, and in conversations with alumni, students and Development Office staff, I have been inspired to share the message of giving and demonstrate to my peers just how much of our W&L experience is made possible by donors’ generosity,” Kaylin Jury ’24 said. “The true power of Philanthropy Education Week comes from the stories of students who benefit from the generous donations that make opportunities like grants, extracurricular projects and summer research possible for so many Generals.”
You can view the full schedule of events for this year’s Philanthropy Education Week here.