Phil's Day 2013: Seeing philanthropy first hand

BY GUEST COLUMN | MAY 02, 2013 5:00 AM

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I used to think that philanthropy was related solely to monetary donations. I would tell myself that, one day, after a lot of hard work and saving, I’d be able make my own philanthropic donations.

However, during my time at the University of Iowa, I’ve learned that philanthropy is about so much more than just money. It’s also about gifts of time, resources, and energy. All of these contributions are at work around us, in a multitude of ways, every day on campus. Ironically, we often are too caught up in activities funded by philanthropy to realize the impact and importance of private support.

This is the very reason Phil’s Day was created — to celebrate the remarkable culture of philanthropy that exists at the University of Iowa. Every student benefits from, and contributes to, these activities. From endowed professorships in the College of Law to the spectacular facilities of the Carver College of Medicine, philanthropic generosity enriches our lives as students, staff, and faculty. The experiences of many students would be significantly different without the scholarship support, state-of-the-art facilities, and first-rate teaching made possible by charitable giving.

Equally important are the charitable contributions of our students. Hawkeyes themselves are remarkable philanthropic ambassadors. Students in the College of Dentistry donate their time and expertise to serve families in need with their Iowa Mission of Mercy event. Urban and Regional Planning students donate their time and energy to the Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities to build a more sustainable future for all of Iowa’s communities. Members of the College of Law Class of 2012 donated more than 9,400 hours of service to the state during their three years at the UI. These are just a few of the countless examples of UI students giving back.

From the time I entered Iowa as an undergraduate to today, as a third-year law student, I have been fortunate not only to receive an outstanding education but also to see, firsthand, all of the great work that our students do throughout the state. As the past president of the Graduate and Professional Student Body, I could not be more proud of all the graduate and professional students who work every day to advance their careers and improve their surroundings and the lives of Iowans. Philanthropy is all around us. All we have to do is take the time to recognize it — and that is what Phil’s Day is all about.

Michael Appel (2010 B.S.), UI College of Law student, class of 2013; past president, Executive Council of Graduate and Professional Students

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