Before the start of classes each year, St. Bonaventure University gives its incoming freshmen a simple lesson with a powerful message.
During the university’s Welcome Days, every new student is given a dollar bill inside a packet. Also included is an invitation to return the dollar as a symbolic donation to The Bonaventure Fund.
With the money collected, scholarships are awarded in a random drawing to two of their peers.
Although on its own a dollar is not much, the collective strength of the students was exemplified when it was announced they had gathered enough to give each winner $275.
“This shows how close of a community Bonaventure is that all of its students would donate their dollar back,” said Julia Schneider, one of this year’s recipients. “It shows how much every student supports each other.”
Schneider, a political science major from Massapequa, N.Y., and Emily Wagner, an elementary education major from Bradford, N.Y., both expressed their surprise in being selected for the scholarship, as well as the emotional impact such a gift from their peers elicits.
“It shows they cared enough to take a second and think that someone might need that someday, as I thought about it like that when I gave my dollar back,” said Wagner. “For as many people who did give the dollar back, it gives off the friendly and thoughtful family environment that is felt here as a Bonnie.”
Contributions to The Bonaventure Fund allow the university to expand financial aid, fund programs that promote success, attract and retain world-class faculty, and infuse new technology into learning spaces.
“Bona's has always been supported with alumni giving, and it's important to show the incoming students how giving a modest gift can add up to help,” said Rachel Elser, manager of the Bonathon student calling program. “That's why we have the Freshman Dollar Program. By giving back that dollar, freshmen become part of SBU's family of donors.”
This scholarship from The Bonaventure Fund is just one more way Bona’s is spreading the charity and good will of Saint Francis.
“I chose Bona’s because I fell in love with it the second I walked on campus,” said Wagner. “It has a great program for my major and there are amazing people everywhere.”
About the University:The nation’s first Franciscan university, we believe in the goodness of every person and in the ability of every person to do extraordinary things. St. Bonaventure University cultivates graduates who are confident and creative communicators, collaborative leaders and team members, and innovative problem solvers who are respectful of themselves, others, and the diverse world around them. Named the #5 best college value in the North by U.S. News and World Report, we are establishing pathways to internships, graduate schools and careers in the context of our renowned liberal arts tradition.
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