Each year, every class has an opportunity to help determine the legacy they’re leaving in form of a class gift.
Of this year’s top contenders for the Class of 2013’s contribution to this more-than-a-century-old tradition, the opportunity to donate funds to a project with the Penn State Hershey Center for the Protection of Children would be the most valuable and most meaningful choice.
If selected, the class gift would contribute specifically to the Transforming the Lives of Children Clinic within the Center for the Protection of Children.
This clinic is an effort to “give comprehensive primary care to victims of child abuse who are in foster care, as well as provide legal advocacy for victims,” according to a release on Penn State Live.
The other two choices offered are nice ideas, but they lack the lasting impact that would come with a donation to a charitable cause. A “We Are” sculpture with the Alma Mater lyrics inscribed on the surface would likely be an attractive campus landmark, and the Rec Hall Beautification project promises to “install a new window system that would simulate the historic character of the original windows that were removed in 1962.” But a new campus symbol and an upgraded facade pale in comparison to putting students’ funds to use helping people in need.
The donation to the Center for the Protection of Children would provide the Penn State community of soon-to-graduate seniors with an opportunity to directly play a role in the development of an important project to address child abuse. This gift, in that way, would have lasting impact far beyond Penn State’s campus.
While you could argue that the other two options are meaningful and would create something that future generations of Penn State students or visitors could enjoy, there’s much more to be said for choosing a gift that could be a source of vital healing and therapy for many.
It would also serve as a good compliment to other causes on campus — such as the Blue Out and student-led efforts to raise awareness or funds for charities like the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network or the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape — to stand up against child abuse and sexual abuse in light of the Jerry Sandusky case. The Penn State Hershey Center for the Protection of Children, and those it stands to assist, could greatly benefit from this gift — we urge eligible students to keep this in mind as voting for the gift begins today.
We have an opportunity to leave a legacy that’s going to continue to help protect children long after we graduate. That’s the type of legacy we should be leaving. That’s the type of legacy we can be proud of.
And that’s the type of legacy that show’s the world who “we are,” a little better than a statue ever could.