Students Support Peers Through Scholarship Endowment Fund

Students Support Peers Through Scholarship Endowment Fund
“Students are starting to realize that not everything is covered by the state or by their tuition,” says Nikki Khurana, Annual Fund director.

In addition to honing their academic skills, Cal Poly Pomona students are also learning about the benefits of philanthropy.

When budget changes forced state universities to become state-assisted rather than state-supported, Cal Poly Pomona began to solicit donations from its student body. Since 1998, the annual fund office has been asking for contributions to the Student Scholarship Endowment Fund ? a program that is supported solely by and for students.

“It?s a process of educating your students, getting them used to giving early on so that when they are alumni, they understand it already,” says Nikki Khurana, annual fund director. “I think that students are starting to realize that not everything is covered by the state or by their tuition.”

To date, the endowment fund has generated more than $100,000, with monies going toward need-based scholarships every year.

“I feel that it is important for students who don?t have enough money to come to school?to have a chance like everybody else,” says Eddie Castro, an aerospace engineering junior, who has contributed to the endowment fund.

The university is also hoping that programs like the scholarship fund will encourage today?s students to continue to give beyond graduation.

“It will get me into the habit of giving when I become an alumnus, to give back to the school that gave you an education,” adds Castro.

Part of the endowment fund?s success can be credited to the fact that it is students who call on their peers.

“I found it to be a little more on the personal level because it was students calling students,” says electrical and computer engineering junior Rudy Chan, who was initially contacted when he was a sophomore.

“Helping others is always a good attribute to have. Where would our world be without people like that?” Chan asks. “I just figure there are a lot more students out there less fortunate than me, students who have extreme financial need. I?m just trying to help them out.”

Recent liberal studies alumna Noemi Villalpando ?02, who returned to Cal Poly Pomona this year to begin the teacher credential program, gave to the scholarship on two occasions as an undergraduate.

“I feel that if I can help in any way, I will probably make another donation next year,” Villalpando says. “I hope other students will be motivated to donate. Even if it?s $50, money is money. It doesn?t have to be in huge quantities to make a difference.”

Encouraged by positive attitudes from the student-donors, Khurana says nearly 20 percent of students who are called make a pledge annually .

“I am exceptionally impressed with not only their capabilities but also their desire to give,” Khurana says. “You?ve got to have both. If you have the money but not the desire, the spirit?s not there. And they are so spirited about Cal Poly Pomona. I think it?s great that they are willing to put their own money on the line and say ?Here?s my $25, here?s my $50, here?s my $800.?”

For more information about the university?s annual fund program or the Student Scholarship Endowment Fund, call (909) 869-2922.