Guest Opinion: The importance of sharing


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Celebrate Phil

We’re hearing more and more about the “sharing economy” these days. It’s great to see so many innovations based on cooperation, peer-to-peer exchanges, and the potential of mobile technology, whether it’s crowd-funding, websites such as Airbnb, or the new bike-sharing program we’ll start at the UI next fall. But those of us involved in philanthropy know that the “sharing economy” is an idea that’s been with us for a very long time. Sharing our resources with the institutions and organizations we care about and believe in so that we can make a better world is what philanthropy is all about.

Phil’s Day is today — the day we set aside each year to celebrate and thank those who have helped you, our students, make your UI experience remarkable through their sharing, and it’s a day to reflect on the importance of philanthropy in your own life.

As a student, you benefit from philanthropy every day. When you learn in classrooms and libraries with the latest technology, much of it has been made possible through donations. When you conduct research with one of our world-renowned professors, that lab you’re working in and that named professorship your mentor holds have most likely been made possible by generous contributors. If you have a scholarship, a private donor probably funded it. And when you’re cheering the Hawkeyes, you’re in the midst of excitement made possible by generous contributors who are also fellow fans.

As students, you are an important part of UI philanthropy, and that’s what Phil’s Day is all about. I encourage you to make time today to stop by the Pentacrest or one of a dozen other locations across campus from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and sign a thank-you postcard to a donor. Attend this year’s “Life with Phil” talk this afternoon at 1:30 p.m. in the IMU Second-Floor Ballroom and be inspired by business leader and visionary philanthropist Jerre Stead. And don’t forget to proudly wear your “I Am Phil” sticker all day — you just might win a prize.

One of the secrets of philanthropy is that sharing spreads — and actually increases — not only resources but happiness. A Buddhist sutra says, “Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”

When we share, we only increase good. I look forward to celebrating our culture of sharing with you on Phil’s Day.

Sally Mason
University of Iowa

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