Skip to content
Main content

Become Part of the Giving Process

Giving News

Marisa Swanson resize
Photo by Joyce Tong Photography

Social work junior Marisa Swanson explains how “donations have the power to transform lives for the better” just in time for 40 Hours for the Forty Acres.

The second annual 40 Hours for the Forty Acres is coming April 8 and 9, and we — the Texas community — should be ready. This fundraising program has the capability to improve The University of Texas in many ways, but it all starts with donations.

As a college student, I know that when someone asks me for money it can take a great deal of convincing for me to say yes. It’s not that I don’t want to be charitable; it’s just hard for me to part with money when I’m not certain what it will be used for. In addition, I know that because I am still in college, it can feel strange, confusing, or even silly to already consider “giving back” to my university. What I’ve learned is that donations have the power to transform lives for the better. That’s what happened three years ago to me when I decided to attend UT Austin.

I come from Grand Prairie, Texas, smack dab between Dallas and Fort Worth. It is a city that I always loved but knew I couldn’t stay in forever. In my household, college was never an “if” but a “when,” no matter what financial burdens my family might face in the process. My mother was the first in her family to receive a college degree, and she was determined that I earn a degree, too. When I applied to UT Austin, I knew that I would be relying heavily on loans or scholarships — preferably the latter — to see me through my degree. I was lucky; I applied and interviewed for a scholarship that would provide me with full funding for four years. Somehow, I got it.

I am blessed to be spending my four years at UT Austin as a Forty Acres Scholar. Thanks to this scholarship, I’ve met incredible faculty members, made amazing friends, and even studied in Europe. I’ve shaken hands with Laura Bush and Matthew McConaughey and fallen more in love with The University of Texas each day. I would never have had all of these opportunities were I at a different college. However, what I want to stress is that it is thanks to the scholarship donors that I have had these opportunities. When founding the Forty Acres Scholars Program, donors took a chance on young adults they had never met and invested their money into the future of UT — and consequently the future of Texas.

During 40 Hours for the Forty Acres, college students and community members alike have the chance to come together and give back to The University of Texas at Austin. Students are affected every single day by the donations of outside individuals. We celebrate Thanks Day every fall, where we take note of how short our school year would be if it were run on tuition alone. Now it is time to take that one step further and become a part of the giving process. We as students are privileged to attend such a quality university, and I believe that one of the best ways to show our gratitude is to answer UT’s call for assistance and participate in the 40 Hours for the Forty Acres campaign.

I understand that others might disagree with me about the importance of philanthropy, and I know that many students and community members do not have the means to give to others so easily. However, for those of us who have the ability, I urge you to take this first step to a lifetime of philanthropy and donate to the 40 Hours for the Forty Acres campaign. I know that I will.

Marisa Swanson is a junior in social work and Plan II Honors at The University of Texas at Austin.

Check out more student and alumni stories: K.C.’s story; Eduardo’s story

Gift Button

Art Work

Monday, June 19, 2017

Real (Estate) World Experience

Monday, June 19, 2017

Building the Future of Nursing

Monday, April 17, 2017

Taking Action

Monday, April 17, 2017

Practical Activism

Monday, April 17, 2017

Read More News