United to Give Back
As they walk through the doors of The American University in Cairo (AUC), students begin to understand the importance of philanthropy, civic engagement and public outreach. During the First-Year Experience program, students are exposed to AUC’s most important core values, which is community responsibility. After four or five years of knowledge acquisition, character development and community engagement, students unite to give back to their alma matter. The Senior Class Gift of 2014 marks the highest level of participation from the graduating class; where 34 percent of students gave back amounting to more than $1,000.
Right before they cross over to a new chapter in their lives, students are encouraged to show their level of appreciation for the many opportunities they have had at AUC. “The importance of the Senior Class Gift is to promote a philanthropic spirit among the graduating class by providing students an opportunity to start their legacy of giving to the University and to take their first steps toward being proud alumni,” said Afaf Fahmy, associate director in the Office of Institutional Advancement. “It is their chance to acknowledge the many opportunities they have had during their years at the university and to help others benefit from the same education they received.”
Ziad Hussein ’14, accounting graduate, has been a very active student fundraiser for the Senior Class Gift. “Giving back to AUC is not about the amount of money donated, but the fact that you take the initiative to donate out of your own pocket and not your parents’,” said Hussein. “Donating any amount will make you feel that you actually passed your years of education and now helping other students to follow your path.” Hussein has recently opened a family business that imports chocolates, and he donated chocolates as a gift to the students participating in the Senior Class Gift and to all attendees during the commencement ceremony. “I thought the best gift to donate to AUC is from a students’ own business,” he added.
Noha Serry ’14, business administration graduate and student fundraiser for the Senior Class Gift, believes that all students who feel that AUC has changed their lives one way or another should feel obliged to give back. “AUC changed a lot in my character and it made me realize what I want do with my life,” said Serry, who discovered her passion in teaching after participating in a Community-Based Learning course where she taught English to AUC workers. “I am proud of this year’s level of participation to the Senior Class Gift and I hope more students realize how rewarding it is to give back to the University that has had a tremendous impact on their lives.”
Volunteering to fundraise for the Senior Class Gift is not only open for graduating seniors, but for students who are aware that giving back to AUC is crucial to maintain the University’s level of excellence. “I want to help other students get the same opportunity I am getting, which will consequently allow them to lead a brighter future,” said Mohamed Mohsen, computer science junior. “AUC is the right place to find out who you really are and become aware of your capabilities to help others,” Mohsen added.
The Senior Class Gift was officially launched at AUC in Spring 2013, where the participation rate was around 20 percent of the graduating class. The Senior Class Gift is the beginning of a long tradition of alumni giving back. Support from alumni make up a significant portion of the difference and all AUC students and the community at large benefit greatly from alumni generosity. The Senior Class Gift is a demonstration of class unity to give back to current students to have the best possible experience at AUC.