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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

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SDSU head football coach Rocky Long interacts with student donors. SDSU head football coach Rocky Long interacts with student donors.

Students Helping Students

More than 300 SDSU students donated to the university’s student philanthropy program on Feb. 14.
By Tobin Vaughn

“Students have made it clear that philanthropy is an important and ongoing part of their lives.”

Eli Diaz was first in line. Two hours before the 10 a.m. kickoff of San Diego State University’s Student Philanthropy Day on Feb. 14, he walked into the Lee and Frank Goldberg Courtyard of the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union and staked out his spot to wait.

“Last time I got here an hour early and the line was already long, so I got here at eight,” said Diaz. To pass the time, the mechanical engineering major plopped down on the pavers and pulled out his paperback copy of “Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future.”

Diaz and more than 300 other SDSU students lined up to make a minimum $15 gift to SDSU’s Aztec Proud student philanthropy program. In exchange, they received a red and black Hydro Flask water bottle or a white SDSU Aztecs cap.

For Diaz, the Valentine’s Day event offered an opportunity to be doubly generous: His monetary contribution would be applied to student scholarships while he would present the Hydro Flask as a surprise gift to a friend.

“It’s good to give back,” he said.

A festive setting

SDSU Alumni staff and student engagement officers created a festive atmosphere for the event. Students who stopped by to donate were offered snacks and an opportunity to sign a giant white board under the heading “Why I love SDSU.”

Aztecs head football coach Rocky Long came by to hand out t-shirts and pose for photos with students. Donors who posted their pictures from the event on social media were offered additional small gift items in appreciation of their support.

In less than four hours, student donors contributed $4,460 toward student scholarships during the celebration. SDSU Director of Development Technology Tammy Blackburn (’94, ’01) said the event illustrated how significant the culture of student philanthropy at SDSU has become.

“Students have made it clear that philanthropy is an important and ongoing part of their lives,” she said. “We see so many familiar faces returning to participate in these events which demonstrates how deeply ingrained the culture of giving has become on our campus.”

A little kindness

Pierra Moise, a graduate student currently working on a master’s degree in public health with the hope of becoming a chronic illness specialist, embodies the philanthropic spirit of SDSU students.

“I care about people, and I love to help people,” she said. “It’s important to me to always give back to the community.”

Moise is in her second year as a donor to Aztec Proud. “It’s a really good program,” said Moise, who plans to graduate in May.

She appreciates the fact that her Aztec Proud contributions support fellow students. While she enjoys the gifts that come with making a donation, the thought that she is making a difference in someone’s life brings her greater satisfaction.

“Philanthropy Day is a good day to help the world, maybe put a smile on someone’s face, and to give a little kindness.”