Students help classmates pay for school


College students often get labeled as cheap because of their tendency to scrimp and save the little money they have, but for some students scrimping and saving is not enough to get them through school.

Choose to Give (C2G) is a program at BYU that encourages students to give back to their university and help other students in need, and this year the program will run Sept. 24–29.

Throughout the week students will be given the opportunity to donate through yellow donation slips posted around campus. The theme for this year’s program is “Paying it Forward.”

Students can choose to donate to other students in need of scholarships, to the college of their choice or to a Board of Trustees who will distribute the funds. For the 2012–2013 year, 16 BYU students were awarded need-based scholarships. Since the program began in 2001, 63 students have been given Students Helping Students scholarships.

Steve Van DeGraff, who received a scholarship last year, said that the donations of others helped him to donate himself.

“My wife and I were almost overwhelmed the day we received notice of the Choose to Give Scholarship,” Van DeGraff said. “It was very sobering to realize that the donation came from other students like me, who don’t have very much. I felt very humbled. We feel a great sense of indebtedness to this great university and to generous people like you. It has moved me to give back to BYU both now and in the future.”

[/media-credit] Student volunteers for the Choose to Give program.
While many students may feel that they have no money to spare, in this case, every little bit helps. The donations gathered throughout the week will help provide half and full scholarships to students who may not be able to continue with their education otherwise.

Emily DeKam is the acting student executive chair for Choose to Give and has volunteered with the program for the past four years.

“[Last year] I saw countless yellow donation envelopes slipping into the boxes . . . students putting in a week’s worth of grocery money at a time and all with a smile on their face,” DeKam said. “It wasn’t about me serving the BYU community anymore. It was about BYU serving BYU, and thousands of BYU students pulled through. Choose to Give taught me a lot about the spirit of BYU.”

Jason Payne, a past recipient of a C2G scholarship, said that donating can be a sacrifice but will always be worth it.

“I know that money is tight for most students here at BYU, and that even sacrificing a small amount of money can be a huge leap of faith; but giving back makes all the difference. Small and simple increments of time, money and service all add up. The contributions of my fellow students have done just that, and I am grateful for everyone that sacrificed. It has made a huge difference in my life.”

For more information, or to donate online, visit


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