The spirit of giving is on most people’s minds during the holiday season. At LAU, however, this spirit is continuously present, though often kept quiet.
“Faculty and staff give back daily, starting with how they treat and address students, teach them, advise them, care about them, help them and celebrate them,” explains Elise Salem, the university’s vice president of Student Development and Enrollment Management.
Many faculty and staff take it a step further and contribute to others in substantial ways, from establishing annual scholarship grants to naming seats on campus to participating in the university’s annual Fundraising Gala Dinner.
Nayla Moujaes, an assistant director of Marketing and Communications and an LAU alumna, recently named a seat in the Selina Korban Auditorium on the university’s Byblos campus.
“I owe LAU more than I will ever be able to give back. I work here, I met my husband here, and I was a merit scholarship student here. It gives me great pleasure to give back to a place that has given me so much,” says Moujaes.
“We are all ‘getting’ from LAU and, usually, those who get must give. It's one of our society's values,” explains Raed Mohsen, the university’s dean of students in Beirut. Mohsen has a history of giving to LAU, dating back to 2000.
Reciprocating the help that they had received as students is a popular way of giving back among faculty and staff. LAU’s Assistant Director of Public Relations and Media Office Bert Makdessi, who is also an alumna, is one such supporter.
“I was a financial aid student whose education was at the expense of an unknown donor who had donated to this institution to provide equal opportunities for all,” says Makadessi, who has named seats in the Beirut campus Irwin Hall Auditorium and contributed to the Annual Fund appeal.
“These are difficult times for Lebanon and the MENA region. As we continue to recruit top students to LAU, we want to be able to financially support those who have severe need. And those numbers are growing,” adds Salem, who has contributed financially to the university for several years.
University employees who want to give back in other ways have many alternatives. The university’s Outreach and Civic Engagement Office (OCE) offers several opportunities for the LAU community to contribute time and expertise, whether through Model UN, Model Arab League or the countless other programs that the office leads.
“Our faculty and staff have the unique chance to indirectly serve the civil society through educating and empowering the student body,” says Elie Samia, assistant vice president for Outreach and Civic Engagement at LAU.
“They train, inspire and educate students, who later themselves become trainers, inspirers and educators of middle and high school students across the country. Ultimately, our faculty and staff are our pride and source of knowledge and skills,” explains Samia.