Posted January 28, 2014 by Michael Sprinkle 

The Gift of Giving

Back in the early days of my career in higher education, I had a graduate student who worked with me that I helped mentor. Right before she left Ohio University, she gave me "The Giving Tree" by Shel Silverstein. Little did she know that a) I loved Shel Silverstein, but b) how much that book and the message she wrote means to me.

For those that don’t know the book, the tree gives to a little boy all throughout his life even when the tree does not think it can give anymore. One is probably wondering, “Where are you going with this one, Sprinkle?” Well, much like the tree in the book, ACUI’s Education and Research Fund gives to the Association and its members. As a member of the program team, I have had my eyes opened to work we do and the importance of the Education and Research Fund. Donate - Article

Through giving to the Education and Research Fund, we are able to provide scholarships and awards to our members. We have helped advance research in the field of student unions, recognized emerging leaders through the new professionals awards, and given our Meg Sutton I-LEAD® Scholarship to help further develop an undergraduate student’s leadership capabilities. 

So what does this mean for you? Well, there are a number of different ways you can give back to the Education and Research Fund:

  • $1,000 for the 100th Anniversary – Our goal is to have 100 people commit to giving $1,000 to honor ACUI’s 100th anniversary. These donations will continue to advance research initiatives through funding and endowments and help to bolster our scholarships to ACUI programs.
  • Named Scholarships and Awards – We have several awards that we want to grow; this will allow us to give back even more money at the level they need to be.
  • Annual Fund – This is our campaign that helps us to raise money year round, through specific events and activities. The funds are then unrestricted, which allows the program team to use them in areas where there is the greatest need.
  • Annual Conference Events – The Education and Research Fund sponsors the ever popular Silent Auction, FUNd Run/Walk, Pay to Sleep In program, and, in Orlando only, the Great Duck Race down the lazy river. We are looking for donated items for the auctions and people to purchase ducks for the duck race. I promise you will not be disappointed. The 2014 events will be “quacktacular!”

ACUI members are just like the boy in the book. The Education and Research Fund gives to us like the tree gave to the boy. The difference between the book and real life, however, is that, as members, we can always give to the Education and Research Fund, so it will always continue to give back.

Michael Sprinkle

Michael Sprinkle is the Visiting Lecturer at Indiana University-Purdue University–Indianapolis.

Michael has primary responsibilities working with all event operations and student employees in the areas of scheduling, information desk, and operations. Michael has been an active member of ACUI since 2008. He has served on the ACUI Region 9 Leadership Team and currently serves on the Education and Research Fund Team.


Great post! The Giving Tree is one of my favorite books too! I love all of his books! Giving back to ACUI is not only important for the future of the association, but it's a great way to give back to an association that has shaped me not only as a professional, but also as a person. It's something I do every year without hesitation.
Comment posted 01/28/2014 10:22 PM
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