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15 Most Philanthropic College Campuses

Posted on Thursday December 27, 2012 by Staff Writers


Since college is often a time of burgeoning social consciousness, it makes sense that so many campuses find themselves hosting a slew of individuals hoping to change the world for the better someday. Whether through volunteering, organizing events to save money, or taking advantage of classes, resources, and programming meant to nurture inspiration and innovation, they work hard to ensure charitable causes see their needs met. The following campuses, in their own unique ways, host some of the more active (or, at the very least, creative) philanthropic undertakings in the United States. Even if they wind up the beneficiaries of student, faculty, and staff kindness, they still boast some great lessons in why giving can be pretty rad.

  1. Rollins College:

    This Florida-based institute of higher learning uses education as a means of furthering philanthropic causes, offering a variety of workshops and certificates to students and professionals looking for ways to give back to the community. At the Philanthropy & Nonprofit Leadership Center, individuals and nonprofit organizations alike learn about and discuss best practices related to charitable endeavors. Rollins even allows them to post up job openings for students and visitors alike to browse and keep projects plugging along smoothly and effectively.

  2. Marietta College:

    Philanthropy Day at Marietta College brings together students and student organizations alike to simultaneously celebrate philanthropic involvement and raise awareness of how awesome community service can be. Since 1997, contests, competitions, awards, and more raise money for scholarships, financial aid, and student organizations; most notably, the Senior Challenge. Through it, graduating seniors pledge gifts to their soon-to-be alma mater in order to provide future students with equal or better opportunities than the ones they enjoyed.

  3. Brandeis University:

    Every year, The Sillerman Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy hosts the Generous U awards, honoring American college students around the world for their innovative approaches to tending to serious societal issues. Beyond that, though, the Brandeis University-based initiative also conducts research and offers courses on philanthropic strategies that work, don’t work, and might work. Its main goals revolve around creating diverse environments and training the next round of leaders keeping charity alive.

  4. University of Houston:

    Spring of 2012 saw 750 faculty and staff members as well as 917 graduating Coogs participate in the Cougar Graduation Challenge, which collected funding to keep programming afloat for future students. Other charitable efforts at University of Houston include Cougar Cents (the cougar is kinda sorta their mascot, in case it isn’t obvious) — which collects funds for underprivileged students and usually pays for 15 each year to receive a full ride — and Philanthropy Awareness Day. Although the latter also focuses largely on how to improve the school’s standing and offerings through donations, it still promotes giving to other causes as well.

  5. Edinboro University:

    On this Pennsylvania campus, the Student Philanthropy Council participates in the planning and execution of charitable events benefiting the school as well as selected nonprofits. Not only does the Edinboro University community enjoy more money toward assisting students, but individuals who sign up to help receive extensive leadership training in organizing events, recording finances, and other essentials to keep noble causes afloat. As with many schools with some semblance of charitable involvement, a yearly Student Philanthropy Day encourages and honors various efforts meant to build communities.

  6. Paul Quinn College:

    Paul Quinn College proudly hosts the Center for Fundraising and Philanthropy, which provides both “fundraising scholars and professionals” numerous opportunities to receive training in the various components involved in running a nonprofit organization. As a historically black college, it devotes much of its philanthropic efforts to diversifying the coterie of perspectives involved in crafting a charitable cause; sustainability also ranks pretty high up there as a priority, understandably! In addition, the Dallas-based school conducts thorough research into how to effectively mobilize support favoring charitable efforts.

  7. University of Washington:

    At University of Washington’s Philanthropy Day, participants in the Student Philanthropy Education Program take to their peers to inform them about opportunities to donate their time and money to causes they deem worthwhile — especially the school itself. They consider themselves “ambassadors” to faculty, staff, and fellow students alike, evangelizing about the joys of giving while simultaneously building their skills in nonprofit leadership.

  8. College of St. Benedict:

    May 2013 will see Tomorrow Made Possible happen on the College of St. Benedict campus in Minnesota, devoted to pulling in enough funding to support low-income students through financial aid and scholarship. Most of the school’s charitable efforts come courtesy of The Student Philanthropy Advisory Board, who start their peers early through initiatives like the Pink Pig Campaign. Freshmen receive a pink piggy bank to save their change, and by the end of their first year (and any year after if they elect to keep going), donate the results back to the school to fund up-and-comers as well as current students who need some fiscal assistance.

  9. Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis:

    Probably the biggest name in student and faculty philanthropy, The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis serves as more than a think tank on all things charitable and lovely; it actually allows enrollees to major in the subject! Such an academic pursuit imbues graduates with intensive training and skills to thrive in the nonprofit industry, if not launch a successful venture of their own. Professionals, too, are encouraged to enroll in their programming in order to gain insight on the changing shape of charity in America and beyond.

  10. University of Colorado Boulder:

    No less than the Peace Corps itself lauds this college for its contributions to international philanthropy, as it contributes more graduates to such efforts than any other campus. Since 1961, the school has sent 2,269 students to volunteer abroad, with 117 currently stationed with the organization. For those wanting to eventually devote their lives to overseas service, UCB and the Peace Corps have teamed up to offer them a master’s program allowing them to major in business, education, environmental studies, or geography while splitting time between campus and “the field,” as it were.

  11. Midland College:

    Every year, 20 students earn a spot in the Students in Philanthropy program at Midland College after completing a rigorous assessment and application process. Entrance into this exclusive group means access to “in-depth leadership training” held weekly and covering everything related to starting and managing a nonprofit as well as organizing events benefiting charity. And, of course, enrollment means hands-on experience with planning, budgeting, and other skills essential to a career in the nonprofit sector.

  12. Boston College:

    When it comes to conducting essential research in the realm of giving, Boston College’s Center on Wealth and Philanthropy stands as a leader. Since 1970, it approaches the subject of philanthropy from multiple angles, not merely the ever-so-popular business component, including the spiritual and religious bases for many a charitable gesture. Wealth transfer protocol and the history of philanthropic pursuits form the crux of their academic output as well.

  13. College of DuPage:

    Donors Forum partners with College of DuPage’s library in order to provide Chicago suburbs with resources meant to educate the populace about philanthropic topics. Nonprofits are encouraged to stop by the collection in order to access digital and analog reads alike to keep themselves abreast of the latest developments in the industry. They also host regular seminars and workshops training professionals and wannabe professionals in keeping an organization running as smoothly as possible.

  14. Joliet Junior College:

    Wow, Donors Forum really gets around, as they also take advantage of another Illinois college library to spread educational materials about how to properly run a charitable organization. Joliet Junior College hosts a wide range of resources, including collections by the Foundation Center and Glass Pockets, open to those affiliated with the school and the public alike. As with other Donors Forum partners, they also host events meant to keep the discussion going and provide training for anyone hoping to further charitable causes.

  15. Gordon College:

    Another college with programming encouraging enrollees to minor in philanthropy in order to move on to rewarding careers in nonprofits. The Center for Nonprofit Studies and Philanthropy at Gordon College also provides continuing ed opportunities for professionals wanting to soak up the latest information about the industry and get inspired to try some creative approaches to fundraising and addressing major issues. Like other educational institutions with classes available, it understands that the proverbial “teaching a man to fish” stands as one of the best strategies to keeping charity alive.