Southeastern’s Spirit of Giving

“I’m very familiar with philanthropic events…I think it just brings people together, making the place better,” said Riley Circello, 1st year Psychology graduate student.

The campus community cultivates an atmosphere of togetherness and support. Several departments across campus create events, drives and fundraisers to help people and programs get what they need.

“It means that they [Southeastern administrators] care about the environment here and the atmosphere here,” said Circello.

Circello said that one of the reasons she chose to attend Southeastern Louisiana University for her graduate degree was because she liked the idea of a small campus. She said it is easy to make friends and be a part of the community.

“Making relationships with professors here is super easy. Everyone here is super inviting,” said Circello.

Students also remark about the social events on campus and campus community.

Bryce Henry, Junior Engineering Technology major, said, “It’s just a really great atmosphere on campus. There’s always something going on and you get to meet a lot people and do really cool things.”

He said he enjoys the annual social events like Gumbo Ya-Ya and Strawberry Jubilee.  He said the faculty and staff do everything they can to keep students engaged with the campus community.

Henry said that he likes that the university offers many different charity events because it makes him feel like they care and are aware of the struggles people are dealing with in the community.

Two departments that provide a significant number of these opportunities are the University Advancement Office and the Student Government Association.

Vanessa Prentice, one of the directors of development from the University Advancement Office said it is good for people to help those in need.

A study called “Does Student Philanthropy work?” by Julie Olberding from found that 73.3% of students who engaged in philanthropy reported it had a positive effect on their academic skills and knowledge. The study also concluded 71% of students reported that taking part in charitable events helped improve their life skills such as communication, assertiveness, and problem solving.

She said that her department partners with the Alumni Center to get funding met that might not be met elsewhere.

“It’s the spirit of all people joining together for one cause,” said Prentice.

Prentice said that the day of giving is hosted every year for any campus projects and programs that needs help achieving their financial goals.

The different departments sign up to be on the roster for the event and they promote their own group. Those who would like to donate can do so for whatever group they choose.

The University Advancement Office provides opportunities for other charitable giving to meet different needs on campus as well.

Prentice said they were the department that originally established the student food pantry for those students who struggle to afford the necessities. Prentice said that they are also able to raise money for students on a case-by-case basis if they fall into hard times. She said, in the past, there have been students who were not able to pay their tuition because of outside circumstances, and they have been able to raise the funds.

Prentice encouraged students to remember there is an option for them if they are going through difficult situations.

Baileigh Picou, director of governmental affairs for the Student Government Association, said people should help out those in need if they can.

She said that everyone has had someone who has helped him or her out before, so it is good to pass on that kindness.

She said the SGA is organizing a food drive for November. There are plans to host The Big Event this year, but it will be different due to COVID-19.  

“Anytime there’s something bad that happens, we step up and try to figure out a way to help those impacted by it,” Picou said.

Picou said the SGA also organized a donation drive called “Lion Up for McNeese” after the recent hurricanes that affected the Lake Charles area.

“I really liked the service aspects it had [Southeastern] and it was kind of one of the reasons I chose to come here,” Picou said.

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