Growing up in Staten Island, New York, Erica Santiago, BS’10, never dreamed of being able to attend Vanderbilt. A four-year, full-tuition Posse Scholarship she received through Vanderbilt’s partnership with the Posse Foundation changed that.
“Because of the generosity of others, I had the opportunity to attend a world-class institution,” says Santiago. “My scholarship gave me access to Vanderbilt’s unparalleled academic programs, professors, guest speakers, social events and much more. I can’t put into words how much my scholarship changed my life.”
Santiago recognizes the role philanthropy played in making her education possible, and now she wants to repay the favor. When she is not working or pursuing her graduate degree in social work, she devotes time to serving as a Commodore Recruitment Programs (CoRPs) volunteer and representing the Class of 2010 on Vanderbilt’s G.O.L.D. (Graduates of the Last Decade) Council. As a G.O.L.D. Council member, she encourages her fellow young alumni to give back to the university through efforts like this year’s G.O.L.D. Challenge, which takes place Feb. 20 to March 17.
If 3,300 members of the classes of 2007 through 2016 make a gift of any size by March 17, an anonymous donor will contribute $100,000 to Opportunity Vanderbilt scholarships. Challenge gifts to each undergraduate school also can be unlocked along the way.
“By making a gift of any size during the G.O.L.D. Challenge, we are saying thank you for everything Vanderbilt did for us as students, and for the resources made available to us as alumni,” Santiago says. “I will proudly make my gift. I know my support goes to help students who are following in my footsteps.”
Learn more about the G.O.L.D. Challenge.