Sunday, January 13, 2008

Dear Stony Brook University

This is probably too scathing, but after the treatment Tommy's gotten from Stony Brook, I felt it necessary. We received a "Parent Appeal" for money to support Stony Brook in the mail recently. It was addressed to "Parent of Thomas G. J." Which is interesting, since his father passed away 2 1/2 years ago and his mother lives 800 miles away in Chicago. I was insulted as his spouse and as a fundraising professional. Seriously. This is like Fundraising 101, knowing your donors and who you're soliciting. So I wrote a nice little email to the gentleman who the letter was from. And cc'ed the Director of the Stony Brook Foundation and the Donor Relations person.

Dear Mr. Guarino,

My husband is a student of Stony Brook University. He has not lived with his parents in over 15 years. In fact, he lives 800 miles from his mother and his father is deceased. We recently received in the mail the Parent Fund appeal, addressed to "Parent of Thomas G Jordan". This is very disturbing, both as a spouse of a Stony Brook student as well as a fundraising professional. My husband has felt from day one at Stony Brook that the university does not understand the concept of a "returning student" who does not live at home with his parents and who has different needs and concerns than a student fresh from high school. This point is further illustrated through the appeal we received at home addressed to his parents, who clearly do not live with us. It is clear that Stony Brook does not address the needs of their students individually, but rather operates under the assumption that all students entering Stony Brook are 18 and have just graduated high school.

If Stony Brook wishes to raise funds from the families of its students, perhaps it should do some research as to who their students are and how best to suit their needs while at the school. If my husband's needs and concerns were better addressed by the administration and faculty of Stony Brook, we might be much more inclined to return the support financially.

For your records, the appeal was labelled 105700315, 08AFDM04Parent Fall. I do hope this assists in your fundraising and helps Stony Brook to see how they might better help their "non-traditional" students.

T. M. J.


Diane said...

Love it!! How much do you want to bet they don't respond?

buddha_girl said...

Too scathing? Hell no.

I think your response straddled the respectful yet sarcastic stance we all should strive for in life. I also wholeheartedly agree with you on the thoughtlessness with which colleges and universities operate under concerning adult students.

I took a few years off before finishing my degree and always felt hung out to dry by the university despite bringing them good press through my performance both on and off campus. I haven't donated a dime to my alma mater since the last check I had to write for tuition.

Kerry McKibbins said...

very good.

Curly Glamour Girlie said...

Thanks. Seriously. Fundraising is what I do and I'd never let a letter out of my office that resembled what they sent me.

Maureen said...

Wow... typical form letter to be sure.

Your response wasn't too scathing at all... hopefully you've opened their eyes to treating people as individuals rather than just another student number.

Good for you!