Unknown number. Of course, I rarely screen my calls, but that’s just because I’m curious. This one, however, calls you at somewhat inopportune times of the evenings asking you to, you guessed it, donate back to your school. I had barely graduated with more than $250,000 in debt, and now I’m being asked to donate thousands back to my alma mater. The conversation usually escalates to a haggling process ultimately resulting in “no contribution at this time, but maybe in the future.” Understandably, as I will be paying off the debt for the next few decades of my life, timing just wasn’t right to start making monetary contributions to my school as I’m already on the 20-year payback plan. Someday, but just not now.
We all donate to various causes for various personal reasons. The common thread among donations is that they (should) require almost no convincing on your behalf. All it takes is a personal connection, a story, or an experience that drives you to think about how an organization makes an impact on you, and could use funds to make it better.
That’s why I donated to ASDA.
When the alumni donor program began this past year, donating was a no-brainer for me. ASDA had given me so much that has changed my life and my career in ways that I cannot describe, and in ways that I had not fully realized until fairly recently. As former vice-chair of the Legislative Grassroots Network (now called the Council on Advocacy), I felt that it was my personal responsibility to give back to the organization that transformed me into the person I am today. Now I am part of the growing alumni network, so it is a tremendous honor to be a resource to up-and-coming dental students. Continuing to be involved with ASDA has further solidified my desire to contribute. Having advanced personal growth as a leader with communication and public speaking skills combined with networking connections and friendships, the gesture is small for such significant personal success.
ASDA helped me realize the importance of being involved in the dental profession and how we have to take control of the changes facing it. It provides education, access and the ability to create change and impact the profession for the better. Ultimately, ASDA is your gateway to a community of some of the most dedicated and influential health professionals in dentistry.
You learn dentistry in dental school. I, personally, am grateful for being given the opportunity to pursue the career of my dreams with a strong educational and clinical foundation. It is the filler material of leadership growth and development that you don’t always get in school that ASDA propagates. You won’t get phone calls, but should you decide to donate, you will know that your contribution will continue to advance one of the strongest, most-respected student organizations in the country.
~Dr. Aruna Rao, Minnesota ’12, pediatric dental resident