Alumni donate $340,222 for books and bursaries

Jan 09, 2003, vol. 26, no. 1

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When SFU alumni asked student fundraiser Yovanka Contreras where their donations went, the communication student might have truthfully answered: right into her pocket.

Not directly, of course. But as a recipient of an SFU bursary, Contreras, who is from Peru, is one of thousands of students who benefit from the generous contributions of alumni to the annual fall fundraising appeal.

The 2002 appeal was a record-breaker: a team of student fundraisers contacted more than 18,000 alumni, and more than a third of them donated $340,222 to help buy books, maintain scholarships and bursaries and purchase much-needed equipment.

It was while working the phones that Contreras came to understand the important connection between SFU alumni and current students.

SFU advancement's Julie Saito says, “Yovanka told us she wouldn't have understood where the money for her bursary came from if she hadn't worked on the campaign. She was very moved when she realized that regular people - some with jobs, some without - were willing to invest in the future of a student they would never meet. Her appeal to alumni was totally from the heart. At the end, we gave her an award for being the most inspiring caller.”

Saito says alumni who want to donate don't have to wait until next fall to make a pledge: call 604-291-5309 or visit

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