by Emily Sullivan, '14
Once a Bonnie, always a Bonnie.
For Paola and Rob Haenn, this statement rings extremely true.
Paola graduated from Bonaventure in 1998 with a degree in Education. Years before, when it came time for her to choose a college, Bonaventure was the most appealing. When she took her first tour, she recognized the safe feeling of home on campus.
"It was the people. Everyone was nice and welcoming. It was the perfect fit,” she said.
For Rob, however, Bonaventure was in his blood. His father, Robert Sr., graduated from Bonaventure in 1958 and his seven siblings attended Bona's as well. To say he knew the campus well would be an understatement.
“I grew up coming to visit my siblings and their friends,” Rob said. “It always was familiar to me.”
After graduation, Paola and Rob didn’t leave Bonaventure behind them. Paola became the assistant director of the Annual Fund for young alumni. Being in that position helped her to see what good the gifts the alumni give do for the students.
“As an alumni and the assistant director, I could see what the school needed,” Paola said. “And as a former student, I can appreciate the needs of the other students and the process.”
To be a Devereux-level donor, the donor must give at least $1000 a year to the university. Paola and Rob, however, didn’t choose specifically to be Devereux-level. They said simply, “We give what we can give. We just want to help as many students as we can.”
Today’s young alumni tend to think that they cannot give back to the university. When you are just setting out into the world with a new job, it’s hard to guarantee a steady income and know what money you can spare to donate.
“Young alumni don’t realize that you don’t need to give a lot of money. Even the smallest donation can help the students,” Paola said. “I wouldn’t have been able to attend if it wasn’t for the financial aid I received. Even the smallest amount helps.”
Giving back to the university, however, doesn’t always require money.
“Talk to your friends and family and promote the school,” Rob said. “If you don’t have a ton of money to give back, promoting the school is a great way to give back.”
Paola also said, “They can also go talk to high school students and help them to choose Bonaventure.” Students are what keep a university running. By promoting the school to high school students who are about to make that terrifying choice concerning which college they would like to attend, there is a better chance that those kids will choose Bonaventure when the time comes.
Paola and Rob Haenn are two excellent examples of all the good young alumni can do. They give back what they can and promote Bonaventure to young students looking for a college.
Emily Sullivan is a sophomore English major with a Journalism and Mass Communication minor. She is the opinion assignment editor at the Bona Venture newspaper. After graduation, she hopes to become a published novelist and write for a newspaper or a magazine in NYC.