The University of Iowa community reaches far past the Pentacrest and Iowa City. That’s because generations of UI graduates are spread throughout Iowa, the nation, and the world. Studying at the university offers students the opportunity to engage with this vast network of alumni and to benefit from their philanthropy — generous support that ensures the UI will continue to excel in its educational mission.
As president of the UI Student Government, I know that students struggle to succeed in the midst of decreasing state appropriations and rising education costs. Philanthropy plays a critical role in alleviating this burden, helping to create merit- and need-based scholarships for students. This past academic year, the UI gave 5,881 awards to 3,035 students. The scholarships mean that students can focus on their studies, engage in leadership experiences, and participate in service activities rather than working to pay for tuition, housing, and food.
This year, UISG collaborated with the UI Center for Advancement to launch a fundraising campaign for the Hawkeye Completion Grant pilot program. To do so, we used GOLDrush, a crowdfunding platform that helps the UI’s student groups generate financial support for their projects. We raised more than $5,000 from UI community members who wanted to help students register for classes. Other student groups, such as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and Iowa iGEM, have raised more than $7,500 to advance their important work.
Philanthropy also is important to student-success programs such as Iowa Edge. This Orientation program for first-generation students — those who are the first in their immediate families to attend college — meet faculty and staff while connecting with other campus resources. Now in its 12th year, the Iowa Edge program continues to grow thanks to generous donors. Through their continued support, UI alumni and friends give more first-generation students the opportunity to succeed.
Financial support is not the only kind of contribution that we appreciate. Alumni also offer mentorship opportunities and help with career placement and advice. I will graduate in May, and I have begun to reach out to professionals who are connected to the UI community. I hope that other students also will take advantage of this opportunity. As we continue to celebrate philanthropy at the UI, I look forward to a future of engagement with the UI alumni network.
— Jacob Simpson