Monday, April 5, 2010

GRADitude Campaign Begins

Today marks the launch of the 2010 GRADitude campaign at Rotman. Funds raised by the campaign go back towards funding projects from the school. Money donated goes towards scholarships, travel bursaries for study tours and exchange, special projects by the GBC and a whole host of other initiatives at Rotman.

Personally, I've already benefited a great deal from Rotman. Besides the fact that I'm obviously having a great time here, I've also received a lot of financial support in the form of scholarships and bursaries to fuel my experiences.

While I don't have the financial muscle to donate much (the very reason why I needed the financial support to begin with), this is something that has helped me a lot and if I am lucky enough to "make it big" some day, I'd like to think that I could give back more to the school than my "two mites".

The school has made participating particularly easy, hosting a pair of events with the funds going towards the GRADitude campaign. The first is Lazy Dog Sports night, a fun event with games in the Atrium ($5) and a networking event at the Duke of York ($5 buys you a drink and entry, or you can pay $8 for the pair of events). Donations of $5 or more will receive a tax reciept. While the actual financial contribution of each ticket sale is not exactly earth shattering, what is important is the statement a contribution makes regardless of how small it is. The target goal is only $2000, the cost of putting in a nice foozball table in the new expansion. There is a competition in first year to see which section donates the most by dollar value and a competition for naming rights to the table by the year which has the highest participation rate.

While none of us are exactly matching Joseph Rotman's contribution, those who are donating what little we can are acknowledging the value of what we've been given beyond what's covered in our tuition in the same way that the Rotman MBA experience is more than just classes in finance (not a slight on finance... I love finance).

Something else to think about, giving doesn't have to take a financial form. While financial contributions certainly help, we are in the midst of elections season for various clubs at Rotman. People who don't currently have "excess cash" to contribute are finding other ways to support Rotman by donating their time in organizing clubs and events for next year.

While I'm told that there is no link to Rankings based on alumni donations (something that surprises me quite a bit), I think it would be short sighted to say that it doesn't have an enormously positive impact on the Rotman experience to have the support of current students and alumni. Even staff and faculty give, with participation rates historically as high as in the 60+% range.

And at the end of the day, being the best b-school in Canada didn't just happen. It is a combination of recruiting smart interesting people to share your classes, a world class faculty to research and teach, and administrative staff and alumni to support us.

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