Civic Duty

Trent Swartwoudt ’22

One of the greatest aspects about giving is the ability to make an impact in the world around you. It can be a tangible impact such as building a community gathering space outside Geisler Library or swings around Central College’s iconic pond. The impact also can be intangible, such as lifting the financial burden of a high-quality education from an incoming studentʼs shoulders. I elected to donate $1,000 to the Journey Scholarship Fund for a Central student.

Let me tell you why.

Central has intentionally built a community around civic duty and engagement. I remember my freshman Liberal Arts Seminar class with Keith Yanner, professor of political science, where we dove into this prospect for a semester. The idea of community-centric civic duty and engagement was furthered by studies in environmental sustainability, global perspectives and economic development.

What stood out to me most from these courses was the idea of a multiplier, which is giving $1 philanthropically creates well over $1 in value, multiplying your impact.

I received the P.H. Kuyper Scholarship from Pella Corporation, which empowered me to attend Central and to become the best version of myself. The generous full-tution financial support also opened my eyes to the direct impact philanthropy can have.

I still remember exactly how I felt when I received the phone call stating that I would not have to pay for a quality education. I figured if I could ever share that feeling with someone else, I absolutely should. It was because of the generosity of Central’s donor network that I was able to attend Central, learn about what civic engagement meant and experience it firsthand. Because of their donation, I can write this piece as a Central graduate, and equally as important, a donor.

Central inspired civic dutifulness in me — in thought as well as action. Since receiving my scholarship and attending Central, I enlisted in the Iowa Army National Guard and served on a year-long deployment to Qatar. I trained to be an emergency medical technician and will continue training to become a paramedic and firefighter. I served as a member of the 2022 senior class gift committee and raised funds for projects around Central’s campus. These, too, are the continued impact of the generosity of Central’s donor network, and an intangible multiplier of their financial donation.

I give to continue the impact of the incredible gift I received from Pella Corp., to promote accessibility of higher education, to lift the financial burden from a student’s shoulders, to empower the next generation of problem solvers and to be an involved citizen. What will your reasons be?

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