On June 2–4 and 9–11, students will be calling students to ask for donations for the Student Legacy Endowment. The SLE is a charity organization exclusive to BYU–Idaho to raise funds to help current students through unexpected financial circumstances. The SLE is not a loan, no contract is signed and there is no required return payment but Alton Hansen, the Director of Annual Giving, said that some students give back later in life regardless.
“We had a
student that received this fund five or six years ago,”Hansen said. “She is now married, has a family and a job along with her husband. She has become successful. She called me and said that she would like to donate back to the Student Legacy Endowment. I said that would be great and asked her how much she would like to donate. She said that she was helped with $500 and would like to donate $1,000. Not all students do that, but it was nice to hear that some do.”
The SLE was modeled after concepts from the Perpetual Emigration Fund that was established in 1829 by Brigham Young. Through this fund, economic assistance was provided to individuals that immigrated to Utah. Originally the SLE was called the Perpetual Education Fund, but Hansen said once The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints decided to create a Church-wide education assistance program, they asked for the name to be returned to them. The SLE, therefore, created its current name.
Although the SLE is intrinsically involved with BYU–I, the employees don’t work for the university but for the LDS Church because university employees cannot raise funds for BYU–I; it would become a conflict of interest. Instead, students und
er the direction of faculty like Hansen volunteer their time making calls to other students to raise funds.
However, due to the transition from landlines to cell phones, it’s been harder to get ahold of students. The SLE doesn’t have any special privileges or access to student information; they can only contact students whose information can be publicly accessed through BYU–I’s Web site. When a student is called, they can give credit card information through a church-secured system. If a student can’t donate over the phone, the SLE will send them a pledge card through the mail in which they can donate. There are also donation boxes in several BYU–I buildings: the Spencer W. Kimball Student and Administrative Services Building has one next to the Information Desk, as does the main lobby of the John Taylor Building and the main circulation area in the David O. McKay Library.
“Each student has already been blessed with tuition breaks because this is a Church school,” Hansen said. “There are special opportunities here at BYU–I [because of] private donors and the Church and faculty. Doesn’t matter how small [a donation is]; the amount of money is not the issue. This is a start for [students] to start giving back.”
SLE has a private donor that will match the raised amount within the year that SLE is able to raise. Students who want more information about the SLE can visit the Web site at www.byui.edu/sle.