When I graduate from this institution, I will be proud to call myself a Winona State Warrior.

I’m proud and completely devoted to the school that provided me an education, friendships and plenty of memories that will last a lifetime. Winona State puts on many various alumni events to keep our alumni connected to this university.

Just because graduation is arriving for me in a year or so does that mean I have to cut off all ties with the school. I will always try and help future students by donating back to Winona State.

Many students on campus don’t realize how crucial donations are to WSU. I hear students casually conversing and I always hear complaints about being called and asked for money after graduation.

The most common statements I hear include, “Winona State doesn’t need anymore money” and “I already pay tuition, isn’t that enough?” I fully understand why students are saying this around campus, but hear me out. The Integrated Wellness Complex, the gym and my home as an exercise science student, was funded by donations. That building wouldn’t exist if we didn’t have alumni who cared about the future of Winona State University.

It’s crazy to think that past alumni, who love this school as much as I do, fund one of my favorite buildings on campus. Also, our state only gives 18% to WSU alone. That’s really not a lot.

Plus if WSU wants to expand and create new programs to attract upcoming students, that budget will be depleted rather quickly. Donations are really key in the success of any university. WSU isn’t the only university that asks its students to give back.

Let’s take tuition for example. Sure, you pay a lot each semester, but let’s think of some basic expenses. There are the professors’ salaries, utilities bills and upkeep for all the buildings, the laptop program in which you receive a laptop, room and board, and more.

Tuition goes to a variety of things, but not to building renovations or to scholarships. The presence of alumni on campus allows for the existence of scholarships. Past alumni and local businesses in the Winona area fund scholarships.

Any scholarship amount really makes a difference, even if it only pays for books for a semester. If alumni never gave back to WSU, scholarships would be nonexistent and that would make paying for school that much more difficult.

If and when a caller calls you for donations after graduation, don’t just shut them down. Even giving $20 can make a difference. Many people will have student loans, car payments and other bills to pay off, but everyone can make a difference.

This university is growing rapidly and it needs as much support as it can get. If donating money isn’t something you’re interested in, donate your time. Connect at different alumni events when you’re invited to them and connect with future students, too.

Once a warrior, always a warrior.