It’s Not Always About Money

When you get a call out of the blue from someone at an organization you have a connection with, you can bet they want something. Usually it’s money.

A few weeks back, a rep from Harpur College, the liberal arts component of SUNY-Binghamton (or to those of you born after 1980, Binghamton University) got in touch to say she was going to be in Connecticut and could she meet with me and Deb. She was particularly interested since we met on campus and wanted to hear about our experiences back in the day. We agreed, figuring we’d have a nice chat, get hit up for some donation and move on.

Jaclyn suggested taking us to dinner so we agreed and suggested a local Mexican restaurant we like. At least we’d get a free meal as part of the pitch.

We couldn’t have been more wrong. She didn’t want money. She wasn’t looking for a gift or grant or a brass farthing. She really did want to talk about our time on campus. As we noshed on tortilla chips all the way through dessert, we relived the highlight of our college careers.

Now, Deb was a terrific student and worked hard on her course work in Math and computers. She worked in the computer center and had a job off campus at the Link division of Singer. Me, I may have double majored in English and History, to me, my campus life revolved around the campus newspaper, Pipe Dream. As a result, our stories, experiences and perspectives were very different.

Jaclyn loved it. She scribbled notes, especially when we mentioned faculty, some of whom were still around. Her questions prompted us to recall other incidents and we retold some of our favorite incidents such as the time we had the head of the campus food service join us for dinner so he could see what we were complaining about. We had pork chops and Deb, seated next to him, had trouble cutting her’s. So did Barry, the head of ACE. Point made.

Since we graduated, our involvement in the local Metro Club has waned but we do participate with recruitment and helped at career events. We like giving back and intend to continue to do so, something we made clear.

It was not at all the night we expected. Far better, in fact, and we all left the restaurant rather pleased.

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