Saint Anselm alumnus looks to current students for donation ideas

Juliann Guerra, News Content Editor

A little while ago, Dan Puopolo, Saint Anselm College class of 1998, reached out to The Crier on Facebook, explaining that he donates to the college every year, but was interested in learning what students wanted the money to go towards if they could have a say.  

Puopolo said, “I typically donate to the Saint Anselm Fund each year, which gives the college’s leadership discretion on how to spend the money. However, I am very interested in hearing from current students regarding their thoughts on priorities for the college and how resources, including alumni donations, should be used to serve the Saint Anselm community. Scholarships always directly impact many students in a positive way, but I also want to know if students think that something is missing from the college or if they think the administration is not paying enough attention to something important.  My goal is to give students an opportunity to have a say in the governance of the college.”

As the Social Media Advisor, I used the best method I could think of to ask the school what they thought: An Instagram Story.  Within the Instagram app a user can create a story – a series of 15 second images or videos for their viewers to watch – and in that story one can ask followers questions. I used the feature to ask “If a donor asked your opinion for what his/her money should go towards, what would you say?”

I’m not going to lie, I was a little nervous that there would be no interaction with the question, but I quickly realized there was no need to fear.  Not only did students interact, but they didn’t hold anything back. For every response I got, I reshared and asked followers whether or not they agreed with the suggestion.  Here’s what I got:

-Shuttle services from uppers to my classes when it rains 26 yes; 34 no

-Housing 73 yes; 4 no

-Expanding on career services programs 35 yes; 26 no

-C-Shop Delivery Service 43 yes; 30 no

-Redo the server area of davison 43 yes; 24 no

-Add a running track 45 yes; 30 no

-Add a pool 48 yes; 23 no

-Building more dorms 81 yes; 11 no

-Better benefits and pay for non-administrative staff (ex. Custodians, food services) 61 yes; 11 no

-Programs for physically or mentally disabled 43 yes; 7 no

-Something that they care about on campus & want to support (club/sports team/etc) 25 yes; 10 no

However the suggestion with the most interaction was Housing.  I recognize that housing has been a big topic over the past couple years, but I wasn’t sure if students were more interested in building more dorms or renovating the ones we have, so when the first suggestion simply said “Housing,” I asked followers for more specifics. Although there were a few comments about updating the existing buildings, an overwhelming number of students said and agreed with the need for more dorm buildings on campus. One student even mentioned the importance of grades living together in a specific section on campus and how living in an apartment is great practice for life after college.  

After sharing this data, Puopolo commented, “Unfortunately, my next gift won’t be enough to cover the cost of a new dorm or apartment building, but I will certainly work with the Advancement team to find a practical way to allocate my donation in a way that incorporates the opinions of students.  After all, one of my goals for this exercise is to help make sure that students’ voices are heard by administrators of the college when they are deciding how to allocate resources. I will also be sure to share the results of your survey with Jim Flanagan and his team.”

Saint Anselm College is lucky to have alumni willing to donate back to the school, especially when those Alumni are so interested in the wants and needs of the current student body.  It will be interesting to see the reactions of this information.