Christian Robillard, a third-year public affairs and policy management, writes his connection to helping others through the Student Philanthropy Council.

As a veteran community volunteer and Carleton student, it is hard for me to put into words why I get involved and choose to serve to others.  After years of searching and thinking, the following phrase captured my exact feelings on service: “Service to others is the rent we pay for the space that we occupy on earth.”

These are words I’ve always tried to follow to the best of my ability and also motivate me to get better every day. It has been tough sometimes, but it has always been vastly rewarding in the end.  This year in particular, I came across a fantastic new opportunity while searching through the Carleton webpage. I decided to apply and, a few weeks later, was delighted to hear that I had been chosen to be the Co-Chair of Programming for the inaugural Student Philanthropy Council.

“The Student Philanthropy Council is a student-driven entity that strives to foster a culture of philanthropy within the Carleton University campus community. The Council is advised by the Department of University Advancement (“DUA”), and the organization, led by students, works to identify, develop, and pursue the achievement of short-term campus projects that are intended to improve teaching, learning, and the broader student experience at Carleton, as well as, offer skill development opportunities for campus-based philanthropic organizations.”

In short, we seek to empower students, faculty and alumni to do philanthropy, to create positive change in the world around them, and to turn their passion into action.  We do this by providing university, logistical, and financial resources to individuals and groups who have a campus based initiative that they need support for.

I was fortunate enough to be able to present the Student Philanthropy Council to the general student body.  We had a great turnout, with a large amount of interest from the student body.  We also had many individuals willing to dedicate their time, energy, and skills to the council in its inaugural year.  We also have a great pool of volunteers to help support us in our events, such as our inaugural food drive.

This food drive, in support of the CUSA food centre, is being held until September 21 with lots of opportunities to bring in donations.  We have a large container in the atrium and drop boxes all around the school.  We also have many events coming up throughout homecoming week to help us reach 5,500 pound goal (the weight of our football team). Find out more on our website.

I am proud to be able to support the CUSA food centre. Its programming and mandate geared at supporting student nutrition and well-being is an inspiring story to tell.  I had the pleasure of meeting the individuals who help run the food centre and they truly do some great work.  I attended their breakfast club and met hungry and grateful students being fed, preparing them for the day ahead.  The reality is that many students would continue on that day hungry. We’re hoping with this food drive can put a dent in those numbers.

So I hope you will look into what the Student Philanthropy Council is about.  If nothing else, I ask you to take this challenge:  Find your passion, wield it, and use it to bring light to the world around you.  You will never be alone in your mission, but it has to start with you.  Always remember that the Student Philanthropy Council will be there to support you.

Submitted by Christian Robillard, a third-year public affairs and policy management student.

To find out more about the Student Philanthropy Council, please visit the website.


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