Inspired by Alumni

Matt DiGiovanni

Last week at the February 22 USGA meeting, one of the guest speakers was an alumnus of UNH, and he was there not to speak about anything specific, just the general topic of what you give is what you get. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I didn’t catch his name, but his message was one that rings true during every student’s time at UNH, as well as after graduating, and this is something that I think many people do not realize or think about.

When most people think of giving back, the first thought is going to be about money. The speaker said it, and I agree, money is one way to give back, but it’s not the only way. One of the best ways I can think of for alumni to give back is to keep in touch with the UNH community and network with the current students. If I end up in a position to offer some form of help to students in the future, whether it be as an internship/job opportunity, visiting and speaking about something in my field, or just stopping by and chatting up some students to see what’s going on on-campus, I’m going to do it. I know I’ve enjoyed my chance encounters with alumni so far regardless of what field they were in; it’s just cool to talk to someone who was in the same place twenty years earlier and hear them talk about how much everything has changed and reminisce about their time at UNH.

I’ve been very fortunate in my time at UNH as I’m sure some of you have already read by now. I really could not have asked for a better overall outcome in my three and a half, going on four, years spent here, and while I know I have given back in some capacity by getting involved and trying my best to portray the university positively, I know that there were opportunities to do more that passed me by. At times, what I see from some students at UNH is a complete lack of desire to make the most out of attending such an opportunity laden school. I spent my freshman year not doing much of anything, and what did I get in return? Just about the same. From that point forward, I got more involved and gave more back and as a result, I got much more in return. Everyone knows the saying “there’s no such thing as free lunch,” and there’s a certain truth to that. Sure, any economics professor would talk about opportunity cost, but I look at it like this: pretty much every “free lunch” I’ve ever received has been in return for something I did to earn it. The same thing applies to everything else awesome that I’ve gotten over time! There’s some FOOD for thought (see what I did there?)!

If all of you reading this take one thing from my editorial this week, let it be that giving back results in free food! In all seriousness, if you give back great things, it’s only a matter of time before, in some capacity, you will get something in return. Giving back shouldn’t be about the reward, but there is some incentive there that can make giving that much better. To close, I just want to bring up a prime example of giving back that isn’t for a reward. Plans have been drawn up for the renovations to the German Club pavilion, and recently the question was raised of how students would contribute to the cost of that in order to potentially begin the renovations. While the specific amount is not available, the alumni board has provided a generous amount that they are willing to spend in order to make another location on campus that current students can enjoy for years to come. Alumni might get to use the pavilion here or there if they are visiting campus, but overall, it is for the current students. The only reward that alumni get from contributing to such things is potentially seeing some happy students enjoying something they helped provide. It’s great to see people who are doing so much for future generations of UNH students when there isn’t a huge physical reward (with the exception of the renovated pavilion) waiting at the end. This is a great project that, with any luck, will be underway in the near future!