Jillian Out and Michael Parker joined University of Michigan-Dearborn’s Student Philanthropy Council (SPC) this year to give back.
“We do what we do to help the campus community,” said Out, a junior studying psychology. “We don’t do what we do for recognition.”
But a pat on the back certainly doesn’t hurt from time to time.
On April 10, SPC received the “Forever Go Blue: Recognizing Excellence in Student Philanthropy” award from UM-Ann Arbor. Nominations for the award, which is part of the Michigan Difference Student Leadership Awards, were solicited from U-M campuses in Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint.
SPC received the award, in part, because its members help integrate the practice and understanding of philanthropy more deeply into the campus culture by promoting awareness, gratitude and giving.
It came as a surprise for Out, who accepted the award on behalf of SPC at the Student Leadership Awards.
“We’re just kind of in shock,” she said.
That’s because their adviser, Jason Davis, secretly nominated SPC for the award.
“SPC members work tirelessly to promote philanthropy on campus and in their community,” said Davis, assistant director of alumni relations. “They do so while also having family, academic and work commitments, not to mention responsibilities with their other student organizations. I thought it was important to recognize their incredible efforts.”
Davis nominated SPC because of their hard work in organizing successful campaigns like the Dearborn Difference, Tuition Freedom Day and the Class Gift Campaign.
Parker admits he was uncertain as to what Tuition Freedom Day meant before he joined SPC. He later discovered that it marks the day when tuition dollars are exhausted and campus runs off external support from donors, as well as state and federal funding.
In an effort to express his gratitude to such donors, Parker and other SPC members celebrated Tuition Freedom Day by scattering signs and distributing thank-you cards across campus.
“It was just our way of saying thanks,” said Parker, a junior studying accounting and information technology management. “When our students graduate and become alumni, they will be more prone to give back.”
The award also surprised Parker, who said the recognition inspires he and other SPC members to work hard to spread the philanthropic message across campus.
“It doesn’t mean that we now can settle and be happy and stop what we’re doing,” he said. “We have to build a road for future generations to grow and succeed.”