This post is as much thinking out loud as anything else...
Last night I got a phone call from UBC congratulating me on my recent graduation into the ranks of UBC alumni. As you may well imagine, I was a little confounded by such misguided kudos, seeing as I graduated from the then-OUC back in 2003. But when I did the conversion to a UBC degree last October, I guess it entered me into the system as a 2006 graduate from UBC, even though in October 2006 I was busy graduating from Dalhousie.
After getting past the pleasantries, of course the call boiled down to a request for an alumni donation to one of UBC's various scholarship endowments. A friend of mine back home recently graduated and she's got a couple phone calls too. On Monday I attended the unveiling of the Glyn Berry scholarship at Dalhousie in honour of the Canadian diplomat who was killed in Afghanistan in early 2006. On the chairs were programs inviting us to make donations to the fund, and it's something that I'm considering doing as it is a very worthwhile fund that would pay homage to a man who died in the service of a cause that I strongly support.
Apparently, this is the life of a university alumni: regular "opportunities to give back" (as the 3rd year undergraduate student who was on the other end of the line last night put it) to old alma maters. For the record, not once did OUC pester me for cash. I'm leaning more towards the Dalhousie contribution because of the connection to the Afghanistan mission, and also because I just gave UBC $100 for the privelige of having my degree converted. That one was a pretty blatant cash grab that hasn't generated a lot of goodwill, much like the phone conversation last night where I was asked on more than one occasion about things only a UBC-Vancouver student would really know about. I've been on their campus a few times, but asking me about their professors isn't really appropriate. I can make a number of recommendations for UBC-Okanagan profs, but Vancouver not so much.
Also, while I certainly empathize with Vancouver students that are paying up to $5000 a year in tuition, even that ghastly figure pales in comparison to what Dalhousie wrings from their attendees. All the more reason to give a little contribution that will help out a Dal grad student, y'know? We shall see if I end up making a donation to either university, as helping out a starving student doesn't really help out my own personal financial situation, which isn't much better.