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Guest opinion: Student Advancement Network builds philanthropy awareness

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In partnership with the UI Center for Advancement, the Student Advancement network highlights the importance of private support for students.

On a campus as large and established as the University of Iowa, philanthropy takes many forms. Whether it’s enormous buildings bearing the names of loyal donors, scholarships helping students get through college with less debt, or student clubs volunteering their time and efforts to raise money for a cause, the benefits of giving back are seen everywhere you look.

One way that I’ve seen this generosity in action is through the Student Advancement Network, the student organization affiliate of the UI Center for Advancement. The club’s mission is to educate students about the impact of Phil on campus, and to bridge the gap between current students and UI alumni. To say that the Student Advancement Network made an impression on my college career would be an understatement. My time as a member of the organization has completely changed my perception of philanthropy.

RELATED: Opinion: The transformative power of philanthropy at the UI 

My fondest memories at the UI came from experiences in the Student Advancement Network. The Nearly Naked Mile—a favorite past event of mine—is a great example of how the Hawkeye community comes together to embrace supporting others. I’ve also interacted with alumni and donors and learned why they choose to give back. It’s amazing to see how small acts of kindness can make a huge difference.

RELATED: Guest opinion: UISG president applauds on philanthropy efforts

I’ve also grown tremendously through the Student Advancement Network. As a member of the executive board, I’ve had the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C., attend meetings and conferences with amazing UI donors, and develop into a better leader and member of the Hawkeye community. Phil is the reason the Student Advancement Network has grown to the organization it is today. I’ll graduate in May with an abundance of unbelievable experiences on this campus—all thanks to private support from generous donors!

Derek Steffen

Class of 2018

Vice President of Internal Relations, Student Advancement Network

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