Parents Boost Community Spirit Through Challenge Gift
While their daughter Katy Dull '07 was enrolled at SLC, Trustee David Dull and Susan Shieldkret would often ask Katy and her fellow Sarah Lawrence students, "What would make your college experience even better?"
As co-chairs of the newly formed Sarah Lawrence Parents Advisory Committee (PAC)—a committed group of current and past parents—Dull and Shieldkret had added incentive to turn the students' wish list into reality. From their own involvement with the College, they knew that the probability of turning ideas into action was high.
"There's a real can-do attitude at Sarah Lawrence," Dull explains. "Every dollar given is well spent. It's such a rich educational environment."
Responding to a need for more community-building activities on campus, Dull and Shieldkret made the initial gift to establish the Student Engagement Fund in 2007, a PAC-led initiative to engage the student body in new and creative ways. Their grant had two purposes: to enhance the quality of student life and to serve as a matching gift challenge to other parents.
The incentive worked. Almost instantly, the fund achieved success, reaching its goal of $150,000 in less than four months. Such a response shows that parents have a strong interest in and commitment to bettering the college experience for Sarah Lawrence students, especially when their own children can benefit immediately from concerts, academic symposia, and campus-wide festivals.
"It's a wonderful feeling—to have an idea and know that the time and effort invested to make that idea happen will create a real difference," Dull says. "There are so many worthy causes, but for us, this is one of paramount importance."
"There are so many worthy causes, but for us, this is one of paramount importance."
Looking back now on their first visit to campus with Katy, Dull and Sheildkret recall how impressed they were by Sarah Lawrence. "We were just captivated by the place—there's so much going on academically," says Dull. "I can't think of another place where you get more bang for your buck."
Shieldkret echoes this early impression of the College. "From the start, we were taken with the aura, meaning, and pedagogy of Sarah Lawrence," she says. "It was a natural progression for us to ask the College, 'What can we do for you?'"
Since then, their appreciation for the College has only become more profound. Now that Katy has graduated, Dull and Shieldkret say they see no reason why their allegiance to and involvement with the College should end.