Berklee Blogs

First-hand accounts of the Berklee experience

Maria Wadman: Promoting a Student Culture of Giving

Maria WadmanMaria Wadman ’17 is a sixth semester student studying performance with a minor in Latin Music Studies. Her principal instrument is voice, with her secondary instrument being hand percussion. She’s works in the Berklee Fund office and is the founder of Berklee’s Student Philanthropy Group, a group mostly dedicated to getting students accurate information about how funding and philanthropy works at our school, and demystifying the finances of Berklee.

I have a lot of people ask me why I give to Berklee’s annual fund.

“You’re a student!”

“You pay tuition!”

“You work for the Berklee Fund”

I’ve been working in the Berklee Fund office since my first semester at Berklee. First it was just a job—I was calling alumni and parents, soliciting donations. I’d always done philanthropic work and enjoyed it, but to be honest, it wasn’t what drew me to the Berklee Fund. I just needed a job. But, the more time I spent at work the more involved I got. Inspired by my supervisor, team members, and the idea of giving, I began to do research and really understand what we were doing—we were making Berklee a better place for present and future students. After my first semester I became a supervisor and have never dreamed of another job.

I give to Berklee because I’m here with financial aid and a scholarship; I give because of the teachers, because of our facilities, and because of the efforts of our amazing faculty and staff to make Berklee the most affordable and enjoyable place for our students. I’m lucky to see Berklee’s financial operations from the inside—and once I had access to this knowledge, giving was a no-brainer. Because at the end of the day, it’s not about dollars, it’s about appreciation. We’re building a community that is grateful for the education and the network that we get to experience. Wouldn’t it be amazing to hear of a college where the students were so passionate that they all chose to participate in the culture of giving?

But it’s not all about ideals. Investors, big names in music, anyone who could endow a scholarship to Berklee, or bolster our financial aid, or help us in any area of advancement, look at our alumni participation rate in the annual fund. A high participation rate means that alumni are satisfied, and to an investor that means that Berklee is worth their investment. Think about how blown away they would be if students were giving at a high rate too! It seems like a hard sell—but I’ve found that the more I talk to students about giving, the more they want to do it. And it makes sense—we get to experience the best of Berklee every day.

And this is how our giving community is built: it’s students, alumni, parents, faculty, and staff who not only love Berklee, but think that music education is important and should be supported. And who wouldn’t want to be a part of a community like that?

Check back here throughout the semester! I’ll be posting everything from information about the colleges financial processes, scholarships, and how we can all be involved in making Berklee a better place.


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Bethel Music

1 Comment

  1. Kirk Etherton

    This is an excellent article / interview, which puts Berklee (and Maria) in a really good light. I found it to be very thought provoking–in the best ways.

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