When I was in elementary school, one of my favorite parts of the year was pre-Christmas fundraiser season. I marched through my neighborhood, catalog in tow, selling wrapping paper and tins of flavored popcorn to old ladies who didn’t really need them but thought I was cute. And in the end, everybody won: my school got some cash money, I got to ride in a limo to Pizza Hut (sweet!) and the old ladies got their shit.

For some reason I can’t get quite as excited about today’s fundraising season — Seniors for the Penn Fund.

Let’s get one thing squared away from the start: I’m not knocking on the Penn Fund. As a Penn student, I recognize that our school offers us some fabulous opportunities and that without donations we’d be in big trouble. And yeah, I’m going to donate my $20.10 and get my t-shirt in the end. I’ll go to Penn Fund events and wear green and eat free food, and then I’ll graduate and think back fondly on these precious moments. So nobody is allowed to get mad at me, alright? Good.

I just can’t be that guy outside Smokes trying to get my friends to give up their cash. Trust me, I thought about it. I was actually excited when I was invited to be on the committee. I convinced myself I’d be a great liaison to the gay community and even my fellow writers at the DP. I went to the first meeting, ate some cookies, struggled internally over the decision to put my name on a committee list and then left. Because in the end, a 21-year-old asking his friends for dough is fundamentally different from a 10-year old conning old folks into buying scented candles.

I’m not good at it. My natural instinct is to buy things for other people. I cover cab rides, pay for the entire order on Campus Food and bursar friends’ lunches like it’s my job (if you’re a friend reading this, don’t try me, it isn’t going to work). As a person who pinches pennies himself, I’m a complete mess when it comes to asking other people for money. My pitch strategy would be something along the lines of, “Want to donate $20? Unless you don’t want to, of course. Totally optional. Uhhh, see ya! Want anything from Wawa?” And then I’m out five bucks. It’s pretty clear I would be the worst fundraiser ever.

So, to the Penn Fund: sorry I bailed, guys. In the end you’ll be better off, trust me. And to my fellow seniors: you probably should donate. But I guess it’s not my job to convince you of that anymore.


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