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Largest class of incoming freshmen in 20 years starts its journey by giving back to peers

Sep 01, 2022

By Cassidey Kavathas

As the class of 2026 settles into college life, the newest generation of the Bona Family joined together to fund scholarships for their peers.

All incoming freshmen received a $1 bill during Welcome Days and were asked to return the dollar as a symbolic donation to start off their philanthropic relationship with the university.

Elliott WilberThe dollars contributed to two $300 scholarships awarded to their peers through a raffle drawing.

“Bona’s has been supported with alumni giving from day one, and it’s important to show the incoming students how giving a gift can add up,” said Rachel Elser, assistant director of Annual Giving at St. Bonaventure. “By giving back that dollar, they become part of SBU’s family of donors and help their fellow classmates with a scholarship.”

This year’s scholarship recipients are freshman Elliott Wilber, a sports management major from Olean, New York, and Amaree Harvey, a psychology major from Rochester, New York.

“I feel so grateful and joyful,” Harvey said. “It’s a good thing that we are donating to something that actually matters and that supports other students.”

Amaree HarveyWilber, like a few of his peers, briefly thought about taking the dollar but ultimately decided to donate it back to the cause.

“My peers had the willingness to give up $1 that they could have just put in their pockets to donate to a scholarship for someone,” Wilber said.

These days a dollar may not go as far as it once had but through pooling funds together this class can make a big difference.

“It’s good to see that my fellow students care enough to donate the dollar and not take it, to help someone that might need it,” Wilber said.

Giving back in this way illustrates the Bonaventure spirit of community and is a great introduction to a lifelong found family.

“Giving means that you support those that may not have as much as you or you’re trying to give back even if you don’t have much,” Harvey said.