During Giving Day at Ithaca College, people usually prefer to donate to places that remind them of heartwarming events or where they simply have some sort of connection. People view Giving Day as giving back but rarely, if ever, as giving to someone in need. Normalizing donations to sources that are simply for self-fulfillment holds people back from being part of an actual change.
It is important to note that many donations, like the ones to sports teams or Student Affairs and Campus Life, are still important because they aid different subgroups. However, there are places that need the money much more than a team that will use the donation to cover its trips. There are people around the world, including on campus, whose lives could be changed with that donation, yet they go unnoticed because the person donating does not identify with that cause.
This is where privilege comes in; the privilege to care for the things that affect you personally and leave everything else out of sight. People have the choice to worry and donate to things that affect them yet ignore the ones that do not. This has become a bad habit because people become egocentric and forget to be supportive to others who might be in need.
Usually, people donate to the place of choice for self-fulfillment, meaning that it makes them feel good rather than worried about how the money is going to be used. This can be compared to “green” consumerism for better understanding: Recycling makes people feel that they helped the world, so they do not bother to know if it actually helped the climate crisis. They keep buying plastic and recycling it as a solution.
Giving to whoever and wherever one wishes is free will, so nobody can make anyone do otherwise. Yet, you have that free will, so next year when Giving Day comes around, think of someone who needs it the most. Giving to things you love is fulfilling, but giving to someone in need you have never met, and never will, is world changing.