St. Bonaventure University:
A Small School With a Big Lesson to Share

By Laura Meyers
SBU ’15

ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y., Sept. 16, 2014 — During this year’s Welcome Days, the St. Bonaventure University class of 2018 learned that there is much more to Bona’s than the degree on their horizon.

As has become tradition, this freshman class was warmly introduced to the campus with smiles, information packets and an envelope containing a crisp $1 bill. Still unaware of the purpose of the dollar, the students went about settling into their new college lives.

The following day, each student was asked to either keep the dollar or donate the dollar back to the university. By offering this choice, the students were introduced to the concept of philanthropy and The Power of a Bonnie, which encourages fellow Bonnies, past and present, to give back to their university.

This year, nearly every member of the freshman class returned the money, and with these donations, St. Bonaventure was able to fund two $250 scholarships for fellow freshman students.

Michelle Beckett-Ansa, an undeclared science major from Richmond, Va., and Carianne Di Spigno, a psychology major from Washington State, were the two fortunate scholarship recipients this year.

“I was really surprised when they called my name,” said Beckett-Ansa about learning of the award at the scholarship announcement. “I thought it was nice how everyone contributed to one cause and I’m grateful it was me.”

Di Spigno felt a similar sense of surprise when her name was called to receive one of the matching scholarships. Interestingly, Di Spigno admitted she’s not a huge fan of being in the spotlight. “I actually made a joke about it and everyone that I was sitting with was laughing when they called me. It was really surprising.”

Di Spigno went on to say that donating the dollar back to the school was the obvious choice, which highlights the philanthropic, selfless nature that St. Bonaventure hopes to instill in all of its students.

Beckett-Ansa also noted that the freshman class learned a huge lesson about giving back from such a seemingly simple donation. “If everyone contributes to something it can build something greater. Even though it was just a dollar for each person, it came out to be $250,” said Beckett-Ansa.

Sponsored by the alumni and advancement offices in coordination with Student Life, this is the first of several student philanthropic activities that begin in each freshman year and culminate with the senior class gift.

The girls believe that this university is different from most other schools.

“I told my friends about it and they weren’t doing anything like this,” said Beckett-Ansa when asked if she knew of any other schools conducting similar programs.

The scholarship recipients both seemed to think there was something special about a small school that can make big things happen when everyone works together. Through this example the entire freshman class has experienced The Power of a Bonnie firsthand.

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