Over his 22 years at WPI, giving back was part of Snoddy’s routine, but his passion for participating in Giving Day really kicked in when his oldest son enrolled at WPI. His family was able to save tuition costs with the school’s tuition benefit for employees.
This year, Snoddy was the first to donate to Giving Day—making his gift on October 1—but he also gives back in other ways. He is currently advising an IQP on food insecurity to help students understand the issue on a global level and a local level.
Snoddy recently shared his thoughts on Giving Day with the Daily Herd.
Why is giving back to WPI important to you?
Giving Day really started to resonate with me when I was fortunate enough to have my oldest son attend WPI, and we used the tuition benefit. I, and my son, were receiving this wonderful benefit. It significantly lightened the load on our family and on my son from a loan perspective, a long-term investment perspective. I had an obligation to give back to the institution that has given so much to me. The tuition benefit, even if you use it if a son or daughter attends another institution, is something WPI doesn’t have to do. But that’s what made me pick up the mantle of wanting to do more or to speak about it more.
My oldest son graduated a couple years ago and now my youngest son is a junior here. The cumulative benefit is astronomical. As a parent who receives that benefit, I feel an obligation to the institution and to our students. Yet even if you don’t use the tuition benefit, you give back to support the livelihood of WPI. And you can target your money when you give back. Why not give back to an entity that is especially meaningful to you?
Giving Day is a community-wide event that really involves everyone on campus. What does that mean to you?
For many of us, our employment is our identity. We wear our WPI gear with pride. Here, we encourage prospective students to ask any student, faculty, or staff any question because we aren’t worried about the answer. For students and employees, if WPI is a great fit, we want them to stay and contribute to all aspects of the WPI community.
"I’m proud to be a part of this institution ... Donations telegraph our commitment to the institution and the bigger picture of who we are as WPI." -Greg Snoddy
How does this tradition form part of the foundation of the values at WPI?
WPI really grows on you, and I’m proud to be a part of this institution! No matter where you are on the pay scale, it’s not about the dollar amounts, it’s about the participation rates. Donations telegraph our commitment to the institution and the bigger picture of who we are as WPI. Even if you give $5 a month, you can target that amount to a certain entity, like the Cheese Club, the Coffee Club, or Engineers Without Borders. That’s an investment that supports our students.
I think students would say when they see employees donating, they see a commitment to WPI. That to me is a big deal. It starts a legacy of giving while the students are still here. Think of everything they get while they are here. It connects back. If they are getting a scholarship, it originates from here … from the donations our alumni and friends are making.
What’s your favorite part of this day each year?
There is so much enthusiasm and passion in the lobby of the Rubin Campus Center that day. It’s a big deal. How do you grow that and telegraph that to students? The passion for WPI exudes out of that. There’s lots of positive energy, and it’s lots of fun.
New Role as Dean of Students
What do you hope to accomplish for students at WPI as the Dean of Students?
I try to find ways where the Dean of Students Office can work with students as an information conduit, soliciting their opinion on local and world issues occurring. What if we are wondering how we increase the student experience with regards to diversity and inclusion or from a student safety perspective? How do we embed in our daily function student aspirations and desires?
We are considering the creation of a dean’s council. Something with the dean of undergraduate students, the dean of graduate students, and the dean of students to have occasional open coffee hours or something similar. Students would be welcome to come chat about any topic of interest or to discuss a topic we want to broach. We want students to feel they are tended to and listened to. The worst thing we would want to hear students say is no one listens to me or cares about my opinion or no one asks. I don’t think we should be afraid to ask. If there’s something on your mind, let’s talk about what that is and why that is. Let’s open those doors.
What makes this role a good match for your personality and professional goals?
I love the students at WPI. They are honest, fair, and helpful to each other. In higher ed, we help shape future generations and help define the future of the world. We want them to be gaining experiences that make them more marketable but also understanding of the world in general before they leave the cocoon of WPI. Our challenge is to help students grow so they can successfully navigate the world.
How is the role of Dean of Students at WPI different from this role at another school?
I don’t think the general role differs a lot from other schools, yet it is different in one significant way. WPI, as a whole, is all about relationships. Campus police, academic affairs, the dean of students office … we all communicate. That makes it much easier for us to do our job. That is one of the things I am most proud of about WPI … we foster that environment. In some schools those departments don’t interact at all, making it all the more difficult to support students and help them thrive and achieve their goals.
- By Julia Quinn-Szcesuil