On Nov. 3, more than 140 young alumni volunteers returned to Princeton for Annual Giving (AG) BootCamp, where recent grads (from the classes of 2009 to 2018) call, text, and Snapchat their classmates to ask them to make a gift to Annual Giving. The one-day event helps alumni hone their volunteer peer-to-peer fundraising skills and gives them an opportunity to give back to the University.
Marissa Troiano has been '06's class agent since graduation. “I was a scholarship student,” she says. “I came, and Princeton opened my mind and my life. I knew I wanted future students to have the same opportunities I had.”
“I will never forget my four years at Princeton,” says Samantha Lynch. “That’s when I grew up. Princeton will always be a large part of who I am.” The University’s focus on its undergraduates, she says, makes her “eternally grateful for what the University offered me, intellectually and socially.”
As an undergraduate, Maria Hilton served on the U-Council and Priorities Committee, which “opened my eyes to the importance of Annual Giving. The flexibility of AG enables Princeton to be a leader in so many ways.”
Karen Sonneborn calls herself “a soft-sell volunteer. I know everyone has their own giving priorities. But when people understand how important Annual Giving is to the University, they are usually happy to contribute.” A leadership chair and participation solicitor, she has frequently served on her class's special gifts committee. She is also a member of the committee that oversees Princeton's Bridge Year Program.
Laura Elbogen grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana, with an affinity for art and architecture from girlhood. Inspired by an art-loving grandmother, she sketched landmarks―houses, public buildings―from the age of five or six. She easily selected art and archaeology as her Princeton major. “I do believe in the power of design to transform our experience,” she says. “Spaces shape our lives.” She sometimes traded her sketchpad for a tennis racket; at Princeton she played varsity tennis for four years.
Jim Williamson volunteers for Princeton “for all the usual reasons: I’m grateful for all I learned here, how I grew as a student and continue to grow as an alum. But it’s deeper than that. Whatever big issues we face today―climate change, disease, world hunger―people at Princeton are working on these issues. To me, there is no more significant way to help make a difference in society than to support the University.”
Elizabeth Meyer feels “an immediate connection to anyone who went to Princeton. Being an alumna implies an ongoing relationship with the University and all its graduates. I automatically smile whenever I see orange and black!” Her dedication to “ensuring current and future students have the same incredible experience we did” is at the heart of her service to her class and to Princeton.
Bri Bennett calls Warwick, Rhode Island, home, although she was born in Tokyo. “My father was a professional hockey player and we traveled a lot,” she explains. She came to Princeton from Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire, after a memorable gap year. “I wanted to see more of the world,” she says, so, based in Paris, she visited 22 European countries, while focusing on French language and culture.
James Kirby came to Princeton from Deerfield High School in Illinois, with every intention of becoming a physician. But once embarked on his freshman year, “Princeton presented me with a huge array of fields of study and possible career paths. I had never imagined there were so many options. It was very exciting.” He took introductory economics, among other courses, and found that “It helped me understand the world around me.” He chose to major in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.