Students, faculty, and community members were offered an inspiring reminder about the power of giving, as Trent University held a luncheon to celebrate National Philanthropy Day.
Speakers at the luncheon focused on the legacy of successful philanthropic programs at the university, as well as on the impact that these gifts have on students.
“It is an honour to bring together donors, volunteers, and recipients,” announced Julie Davis, vice-president External Relations and Advancement. “And an honour to celebrate both the act of giving and the effects felt at this institution that we all care for.”
Among those to address the luncheon were Gemma Edwins and Erin Hartmans, two student award winners, who both had inspiring stories to share.
“Receiving financial assistance takes away the burden of having to find paid employment while at school,” said Ms. Edwins. “If we don’t have to work, then we are better able to spend our time giving back to the community that houses us.”
Ms. Edwins, an international student from St. Lucia, gives freely of her time here at Trent. She participated in the creation of a student human rights group – an act that led to an invitation to the Presidential Advisory Committee on Human Rights – and helped lobby for an on-campus spiritual space. She has also worked with administration in the Liaison Office and the New Student Advisory (NSA) program, advising parents and assisting students with their entry into an enriched student experience at Trent.
Ms. Edwin has also worked in communications with the on-campus organization Kawartha World Issues Centre (KWIC), helped organize Trent’s Afrobana, and worked with local secondary school students on a Model United Nations Program.
“I’m proud to have been given an opportunity to help share the Trent view on business and international development with new audiences from across our community and around the world,” she reported. “And I am thankful for the gift that has allowed me such freedom.”
Erin Hartmans also uses her award to make time for volunteerism.
“I am a volunteer-a-holic,” she admitted. “During high school, I tried to be involved with as many groups as possible. I tried to always give back. Getting a scholarship has allowed me the opportunity to continue this at the university level. It’s helping me gain the opportunities to become a better leader in my community.”
Ms. Hartmans, who volunteers with KWIC, Trent’s Impact Student Leader program, and Trent Global Living, considers Trent to be the perfect school for people who want to give their time to beneficial causes.
“I had heard so much about Trent,” she recalled. “About how active it was in social causes and the environment. It’s the school of my dreams – and I almost didn’t get the chance to come here. Without a scholarship, I would have had to go to school close to home in Guelph.”
According to David Morton, former chair of Trent’s Board of Governors, the volunteerism shown by these students is an example of philanthropy at work. “There are many ways to give,” he said. “There are financial gifts, which are so urgently needed by organizations and institutions, and there are gifts of time and experience. Both are valuable. And both can help make meaningful change in our society.”
Physics professor emeritus, Dr. Al Slavin, recalled the origins of one of many of Trent’s scholarships.
“I was looking to honour Jack Lodge, Trent’s founding professor of Physics, and one of my great influences at the university,” he told the appreciative crowd. “I thought that a scholarship in his name would be appropriate. So I approached my colleagues in the department and had them each chip in a small amount – a few hundred dollars apiece. And we put that money away, along with some very generous matching help from the government. Within a few years, we were able to start offering a scholarship per year for deserving physics students.”
From humble origins, the scholarship has become a major award. It is now offered to three students per year. Over the years, 47 Jack Lodge Scholarships have been given. The effects have been tremendous: 12 winners have each gone on to receive a Ph.D., while numerous others have gone on to win prestigious academic awards.
For information on giving to Trent, please visit: http://www.trentu.ca/givingtotrent/
Posted on Wednesday, November 30, 2011.