“I give to Purdue because it's my home. I give because there is nothing better than giving somebody the opportunity to go to college.”
Each gift, no matter the size, is a vote of confidence in the University and a testament of loyalty to the Boilermaker family. Purdue employee donors are passionate about their support. But before they click to give through payroll deduction, there is a story.
Even as a student, Emily Hart (HHS '09), regional director of development for the University Development Office, understood the impact of giving back. "Coming from a single-parent family, I had to pay my whole way through college, so I understand firsthand the need to help students with the cost of their education," she says.
Hart has always been part of the development team at Purdue. As a student, she worked in the Telefund (now called Rally Line), a student-run calling center. As she talked to alumni, the stories she heard and advice she got were invaluable to her student experience.
"They shared with me their bucket list of things they wish they had done while they were here," she says. "That armed me with a whole list of things I could do, and as I did them, I felt like I was doing it for them, too."
During her time as a student caller, Hart realized how beneficial it was to give back. "My senior year, I began giving to Purdue. I wasn't able to give much in the beginning, but I knew I was doing something that would be helpful."
And she just kept doing it.
What started as a senior gift quickly became a way of life for her. "I feel I owe Purdue so much and so it's just second nature for me to give back," she says.
By giving to the Purdue general fund, Hart recognizes she is helping everything on campus. By giving to one of her favorite professor's endowments (Richard A. Feinberg Endowment Fund), she is giving back to something that helped her.
When Hart graduated in 2009, she received the offer of a position as associate director of the Telefund. "One of my responsibilities was to listen to the students as they made calls," she says. "It was interesting to listen to them. I realized they were not just doing their jobs, but they had a passion for what they did."
Now, Hart is on the road making visits to alumni. "I was in Telefund for eight years – as a student and associate director – so until I took this job, I had only known the annual fund side of things," she says. "I wanted the chance to talk to alumni face to face. I wanted the chance to visit those who live far away from our campus."
As Purdue alumni know, when you meet another Boilermaker, it's like meeting family. There is an instant connection because you have shared some of the same experiences. "Those shared experiences make it easy to talk about giving back and because I give back, it makes it easier to talk about," Hart says. "I can't ask someone to do something I'm not willing to do."From the first time I set foot on campus, I knew I was going to be a Boilermaker. I give to Purdue because it's my home. I give because there is nothing better than giving somebody the opportunity to go to college."
* Faculty and staff who would like to share their own thoughts and stories about supporting Purdue should contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 49-43872.