With exams, extracurriculars and everything in between, the necessity of giving back to the university by making a gift is not at the top of most students' minds. I, for one, think that is a task generally associated with alumni. However, working with The Gift has shown me that getting people in the habit of giving takes a lot of strategy and coordination. I've learned that it's difficult to create a habit out of giving, which is why it's important to build that habit among students.
As a rising senior, I have never been directly approached to give back monetarily so it isn’t on my radar. I think students should be targeted early on in their college career to get used to annual giving before they graduate. Universities can reach out to their students through their social media platforms, which boast thousands of followers and with events in populated places around campus. These events can also be opportunities to educate students about the importance of giving back, and the impact that private gifts have made on their experience by funding scholarships, study abroad and many other unique educational opportunities. Schools would be surprised by the impact of cultivating student donors from their first year, building a culture of philanthropy on campus.
Even if students can't give back as much as alumni, their donations are perhaps more valuable. By contributing spare change or small donations, students will form a habit of giving, and continue their commitment to giving back to the university long after their years as undergraduates inevitably pass them by.