Originally published April 6, 2014

Co-written with editorial board

Last week, the Grand Valley State University Student Senate hosted its second town hall meeting to discuss donor relations with members of the Board of Trustees. More than 50 members of the campus community including students, staff, faculty and administrators came to weigh in on the discussion.

While it is important for GVSU to get outside funding, especially with less money being given from the state, there are better ways to carry out this task than to entice donors by offering to put names on everything and anything. Even Shelley Padnos, chair of the Board of Trustees, and Kate Pew Wolters, the former chair and a current member of the board, expressed their surprise when they saw their names in the library for the first time.

So now, to the biggest question: Is there a happy medium? Does it have to be either giving recognition in every nook and cranny or giving none at all? We at the Lanthorn think not. Just like with most situations in life, this is a false dichotomy. We feel certain there is some middle ground here waiting to be traversed.

There are many ways to show donors they are appreciated without plastering names everywhere. For example, GVSU could host monthly dinners to recognize new donors who contributed that month, or it could host one large event at the end of each year to thank all who generously supported the university. In fact, this kind of event could benefit students, as well. These events could be prime networking opportunities for GVSU students to connect with those who care about their chosen school.

Another option may be to create a dedicated space for names of donors, such as a plaque in each foyer, and then to limit names in the rest of the building. This option allows GVSU to thank its donors who don’t wish to place their names around the building but also to retain donors who give for the sole purpose of recognition.

We don’t mean to be beating a dead horse here, but the fact is that this issue has remained unsolved. As the academic year draws to a close, perhaps it is time for the administration to think a little more outside the box to come up with a solution that is amenable to all parties involved.


Original publication: http://www.lanthorn.com/article/2014/04/too-much-recognition