Students Get Ready to Say Thanks A group of W&L students plan a week-long series of events dedicated to philanthropy education and sharing gratitude.
The last week of March will be particularly busy for a group of first years, sophomores and juniors who are part of the Development Ambassadors, a student organization devoted to philanthropy education. The Development Ambassadors will host a week-long series of events dedicated to spreading awareness about the impact of the Annual Fund on the student body and the importance of the donors who make so much possible at W&L.
“We, as students, are beyond appreciative for our alumni base and donor community who continue to make this institution the special place that it is. We hope that through events like Say Thanks Week, we can communicate our sincere gratitude.”
~ Pierson Gammage ’24
The group spends time learning from development professionals about the basics of operating budgets, the need for fundraising, how that work is accomplished, and how to steward the donor community. The students employ this knowledge in planning and hosting Say Thanks Week, during which they help their peers understand the importance of the Annual Fund and the power of gratitude.
“Our ultimate goal is to spread awareness of the impact the Annual Fund has on every student,” said Development Ambassador and president of the Executive Committee James Torbert ’23. “We want students to recognize just how much we have to be thankful for at W&L.”
Assistant Director of Annual Giving Abby Gilbert leads the student group and provides guidance to plan for the week-long series of events. In addition to seeing the Development Ambassadors tabling outside Elrod Commons, they will offer fellow students rides in a “cash cab” and host a trivia lunch.
“Hopefully as students learn more of the stories behind the familiar names around campus, they will see W&L with fresh eyes to appreciate those who have given so much,” Gilbert said.
Pierson Gammage ’24 joined the Development Ambassadors after establishing a rapport with Gilbert, whom she viewed as a mentor during a difficult first year marred by COVID-19.
“We, as students, are beyond appreciative for our alumni base and donor community who continue to make this institution the special place that it is,” she said. “We hope that through events like Say Thanks Week, we can communicate our sincere gratitude.”
Torbert exuded a sincere enthusiasm for the coming Say Thanks Week and for W&L’s supportive community.
“While most students interact daily with our incredible faculty, many students do not have the opportunity to see the work done by W&L’s staff and alumni,” he said. “I am truly inspired by the number of people who work behind the scenes to support me and my fellow students.”
Gammage shared Torbert’s excitement and is looking forward to taking part in her first Say Thanks Week.
“There is just an inherent connection and love for this school that bonds the W&L community,” she said. “We are so lucky to be a part of it and look forward to engaging with as many fellow students as possible next week.”