OUR POINT THIS WEEK: Students, faculty and administrators should all pitch in to raise awareness of growing Butler endowment. | VOTE: 31-1-3
President Jim Danko is beginning his tour to raise Butler University’s funds and profile.
But he cannot be the only one promoting this cause. Members of the Butler community should all contribute to this effort, since the university stands to benefit from it a great deal.
Butler’s fiscal reliance on tuition brings pause.
“I’ve never been at an institution so tuition-dependent,” Danko said, as reported by The Collegian on Feb. 2.
One way to solve this problem is to increase the endowment and donations.
Only one in four alumni donate anything at all, he said.
And Butler’s endowment currently stands at $150 million, a figure that Butler intends to raise to $175 million, said Bruce Arick, vice president for finance and administration, at the president’s town hall meeting last week.
However, the university cannot spend that money directly. Endowments are typically invested in the stock market, and the university then spends the interest.
While the effort to raise more money starts with Danko’s tour, faculty, alumni and students should all join the president’s tour, at least in spirit.
A larger endowment will allow the university to address many of the concerns commonly mentioned by students, such as facilities and tuition control.
Maybe the university community would be more likely to donate if they knew that their interests were being served.
Would more faculty and staff donate if they thought that the currently delayed equity raise issue would be put back on the table?
Alumni have their own concerns, of course; college loans and this dismal economy probably do some damage to deter potential donors.
Knowing what motivates current students and targeting those interests could also be beneficial in an effort to raise the enrollment.
Almost every student has some views on how best to shape the university’s future.
Even if the administration disagrees with the expressed priorities of any given group, sharing views will give Danko a sampling of what Butler’s next generation of alumni want, causing them to donate.
Danko brings a much more action-oriented vision to the university’s expansion, which might inspire donors.
He is proactively marketing the university’s achievements and using the limelight grabbed by two NCAA National Championship appearances.
We should join Danko in this push.
Students should reach out to alumni they know.
Deans and faculty should look for partners in the community.
And alumni should consider giving.
Imagine the university’s roughly 43,000 living alumni.
Imagine that, through the combined efforts of this community, 10,000 more are inspired to donate.
Even if Danko’s tour is only marginally successful, it could still bring great changes and revenue to the university. Let’s be partners to increase this effort.