Donating to Senior Fund offers ideal way to give back to Whitman

This column was contributed by senior Alyssa Breetwor

Philanthropy is the conscious effort made to financially support a cause about which one is truly passionate. It is a way of saying thank you and of giving back, and is, importantly, extremely personal. There are plenty of deserving causes, and as individuals we have the choice about which organizations we want to support. Each and every donor should feel proud of his/her contribution––no matter how big or how small.

With graduation not too far away, I have reflected deeply about my college experience. Attending Whitman has been one of the best decisions that I have ever made. I am thankful for the opportunities to collaborate with professors, travel abroad and meet people with varying passions and dreams. While my four years as a student are coming to a close, my years as a proud Whitman alumna are just about to begin. I know that Whitman will be a nexus point for me throughout my entire life.

Considering the benefits I have accrued as a Whitman student, I now feel obliged to pay them forward, by means of giving to the Senior Fund. The Senior Class Scholarship Fund is a campaign organized by graduating seniors, and it marks the beginning of a lifetime involvement with Whitman College. I encourage your first act as a soon-to-be alumnus to be donating to this fund, to begin as soon as possible the process of giving back.

Over the course of the semester, I have had the pleasure of interacting with countless alumni. Every alumnus has shared with me how invaluable his or her Whitman education has been––explaining the myriad of ways in which Whitman is woven into their lives. Kate Prael Asgari, currently working at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, shared her observations with me:

“An encounter with Whitman College has a curious way of enchanting [people] . . . Wherever your endeavors may lead beyond this atoll, you will discover the influence of Whitman in your curiosity, advocacy, inquiry, service, community and adventures. Your gift to the College, in any amount, continues this narrative. Pay it forward.”

Kate’s message is simple: Whitman changes and shapes lives; a Whitman experience is a lifetime experience.

Chris Garratt, a Whitman graduate who is now the Director of the Providence St. Mary Medical Center Foundation, echoed her sentiments: “My Whitman education has prepared me for a variety of professional endeavors, many of which I could not have predicted when I was given my diploma . . . Putting it simply: I give to Whitman because it continues to give back to me long after I graduated.”

This is exactly why I am choosing to give to Whitman’s Senior Fund. It is the first step for many of us in the transition from students to dedicated alumni. By making donations, we demonstrate to our peers the importance of philanthropy––the importance of giving back to a place that will continue to support us as we take on new endeavors in life.