Saving it up, paying it forward

From staff reports

This week, Washington State University is hosting their first-ever philanthropy week, sponsored by the organization Philanthropy at Washington State (PAWS).

PAWS is a part of the WSU Central Foundation, and its state-funded budget supports creating a philanthropic-minded community among WSU students, said Cody Wilson, development coordinator at the WSU foundation center.

Events are scheduled throughout the week for WSU students to participate in, ranging from a photo booth contest to the “Fill the PAW” campaign. Via hosting events for the community, PAWS aims to educate individuals on the behind-the-scenes work that allows WSU to run smoothly and give back to the community.

For the “Fill the PAW” campaign, members of PAWS will be handing out piggy banks in the shape of a cougar paw and asking students to fill them with their spare change over the next year. At next year’s philanthropy week, PAWS will be collecting the piggy banks and donating the money toward the specific organization at the request of the donors.

This is designed to give students the opportunity to make small contributions and pay it forward, said Tangi Brantley, president of PAWS.

Brantley brought the idea of philanthropy week to WSU because she said she wanted to find a creative way to build familiarity with the program and educate students on how impactful private funds can be. She began researching possible ways to execute this mission and realized that many universities celebrate philanthropy week to thank their donors and appreciate their students.

Last August, Brantley and Madeline Rumpf, vice president of events, went to St. Louis to participate in the CASE Affiliated Student Advancement Programs national conference, where students from across the country met to discuss their university’s philanthropy week.

“At the core, our purpose is to educate students about the importance and impact of private gifts so that inevitably, once we become alumni, we will pay it forward for future Cougs,” Brantley said. “We would like to continue to uphold the tradition of supporting the Cougar Family.”

There is an event designated for each day this week. On Monday, there was a photo booth contest and Tuesday was spent as a day of service. After “Fill the PAW”, students are invited to write thank-you cards to donors on Thursday and Friday in the CUB from noon to three p.m.

“We want to provide support for students out of gifts contributed by students because WSU is a family. I really want to see more philanthropic individuals take on a genuine, selfless role to see a need and fulfill it,” Brantley said.

Reporting by Sophia Steele