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Aline Quenum leaves the financial aid office on Posner Hall’s second floor and heads to the first-floor Mellonhead Lounge for a group meeting with classmates. Along the way, the Tepper School of Business graduate student notices a large banner that reads, “Love A Donor.” She wonders what it means and asks Jay Haugen, another Tepper graduate student, from Las Vegas, who is sitting at a table laden with literature in front of the banner.
He explains that without the help of donors, Carnegie Mellon would be a much different place. In fact, many students couldn’t afford to go here without financial aid. Even students who don’t get any kind of financial assistance actually do in reality because tuition only covers about two-thirds of the cost of a Carnegie Mellon education. And more than half of the university’s undergrads receive financial aid. Donors help bridge the gap with their support, Haugen explains. The idea of Love A Donor week is to have students, both undergraduates and graduates, take a moment at one of the many tables set up across campus and write heartfelt thank-you cards to the alumni, parents, faculty members, and staff who give to CMU.
“Would you like to jot down a note?” he asks Quenum.
After hearing the explanation, how could she say no, especially because the Tepper student knows that she is one of the students who benefits from the generosity of others. She writes a succinct, sincere message: Thank you. It’s because of these types of donations that we can be here. For that, I am very appreciative.
The chance to express her gratitude is especially timely for the Raleigh, N.C., native. She had just visited the financial aid office to find out whether she could afford to go on a school-sponsored visit to Carnegie Mellon’s Qatar campus. The trip is offered through Tepper’s global studies program, which enables Pittsburgh-based students to visit the Middle East campus during the week of Spring Break as a means to gain a global perspective on business issues. Of course, it involves a nearly 14,000-mile roundtrip journey. At the financial aid office, Quenum had learned that she can get aid for the trip. Taking a seat at the “Love A Donor” table after getting that good news seemed only fitting.
—Jonathan Barnes (DC’93)