Wednesday, October 11, 2006

MIT Asks For Money

Let me preface this post by stating clearly that my time at MIT was worth every penny, and if I had to make the decision again between where I am now and a debt-free-MITless existence, I would quickly re-choose my current debtridden state.

That said, last night I was called for the second time in a week by "a sophomore at MIT."

The first time, I was in the backseat of a full Jeep about to be dropped off. "Hi! This is Allison, a sophomore at MIT. Do you have a minute to speak?" "If you're asking for money, don't waste your breath, because you're not going to get any." I have to give her credit; she just kind of laughed and tried to convince me that they were just trying to ensure my contact information was still up-to-date. I said it was, and she started to ask if she could just talk to me about my impressions of and time at MIT, and I mentioned that I was kind of busy at the moment, but could I call them back in ten minutes? Well, no, they don't take incoming calls, but someone would call next week. You'd think the fact that I was willing to return the call in ten minutes would imply that I would be able to take an incoming call in ten minutes, but let's not jump to conclusions here.

Apparently last night is next week. "Hi! This is Amanda, a sophomore at MIT. Do you have a minute to speak?" "If you're asking for money, don't bother, you're not going to get any." "Uhm, okay, bye." Apparently we're not even going to pretend to care about all of my delightful insights of my time served at MIT or bother asking why I'm unwilling to give handouts.

I'm not exactly sure just why I get so infuriated whenever MIT asks me for money. A large part has to do with the fact that it will be many many more years before I fully pay for that education, and I will not even consider freely giving them money while I'm still being forced to give them money. A lot of the irritation is because I completely disbelieve that my money will be put to a good use; if I were to ever donate money, I would donate it directly to a student or living group, where I could be more gauranteed of students benefitting from my hard-earned cash.

Then there's that part of my current anger that certainly has to do with the answer another alum got upon asking just why does MIT need "just anything you have": because higher percentages of alumni who donate money translates into higher rankings. What?! Yes, that's right: MIT is claiming to care about rankings. What the hell?! Are we having trouble with name recognition here? Are we actively trying to attract the kind of student who prefers another school simply because a statistically insignificant ranking system based on questionable criteria implies that a small liberal arts school up the river is somehow "better"?? It's not like MIT is trying to crack the top ten or create name recognition that goes hand-in-hand with "research institution" instead of "football."

Ah, well. They'll call again in a year, and perhaps then I will be prepared to explain to the unwitting sophomore why MIT should care about exactly why an alum is unwilling to donate money.


Mira said...

Just so you know for the future... when I worked at Hillel, I handled donations. You can donate directly to MIT and specify that it has to go to a living group or student group and MIT must abide by that

OneDollarDream said...

MIT can donate $Money$ to me:)