U MatterWhen Casey Jo Snyder BA ’08 graduated with a double major in finance and math, she knew that someday she wanted to donate to Anderson University. She had appreciated her experience at AU and had received scholarships and aid herself, so she wanted to give back someday — someday when she was settled and financially secure, when she had larger sums of money to contribute. But when Snyder received a mailing about the U Matter campaign, she realized someday didn’t have to be years in the future.
U Matter is an initiative that reaches out to young alums and is an important part of the Dreams. Discovery. Direction. campaign. For recent grads just starting out in the world, life events such as marriage, starter homes, and bundles of joy don’t leave much money for donating. With U Matter the focus is not on the amount of the gift, but on the participation itself. Even though recent grads may not have the large amounts that are usually associated with capital campaigns, they can still be involved in the mission and the growth of Anderson University.
For Snyder, a financial management analyst with the Department of Defense, a U Matter donation made sense. Her donation was what she might normally spend on dinner and a movie. “I can handle that,” says Snyder. “Even just a small amount can make an impact, especially when a large amount of people are doing that.”
Snyder believes in AU and was compelled to give because she felt the education she received at AU couldn’t have been duplicated anywhere else. Two important influences on her as an AU student, besides the high quality of her education, were her relationships with her professors and her involvement with the Tri-S program.
Snyder’s professors invested in her life in a personal way that has continued after graduation. She still keeps in contact with them through phone calls and e-mails, sharing her personal and professional achievements. “A lot of my friends at work went to larger universities, and they just didn’t have that connection with their professors,” she says. “Going to AU definitely changed my life, and a lot of that had to do with the interaction I had with my professors.”
Her Tri-S experiences were also life changing. During her time as a student, Snyder took eight Tri-S trips. Her travels included countries such as Honduras, Guatemala, Peru, and Australia. She had never left the United State before becoming involved with Tri-S, and looking back she realizes Tri-S opened up her worldview. “I think in my mind I saw the world as like suburban America, and that’s the furthest thing from the truth,” says Snyder.
Shortly after beginning her job with the Department of Defense, Snyder had to travel to Afghanistan as part of her work. She feels her Tri-S experiences prepared her for traveling to an unfamiliar culture. “Obviously, Afghanistan is different than Latin America,” says Snyder, “but having those experiences prior, I felt so much more comfortable. I felt like I was an asset.”
Giving to Anderson University doesn’t have to be something on the distant horizon of “someday.” Continuing to be involved with the AU family is what matters, even if the gift is small. “Even though I’m just starting out, I can give back,“ says Snyder, and she encourages others to consider doing the same. “You can feel like you’re a part of what’s going on,” she says. “It’s a great place to grow. There are a lot of good things going on there.”
- Heather Lowhorn, Excerpt from 2008 Donor Report