Thank you for your donation of "$000.50"

Boston University is a pain in my ass.

Don't get me wrong, I loved the school and had a fine time when I was there. But ever since I graduated in May of 1998, they've been a pain in my ass. That's when I went from "Student" to "Alumni". "Paying Customer" to "Freeloading Bastard." But they had a solution. The ink on my diploma wasn't even dry before they starting asking me for money. "Fix the Marsh Plaza!" "Buy new Avid editing machines for the College of Communication!" "Give Chancellor, er, wait, Supreme Grand Exalted Leader el Presidente Silber many more millions annual salary!"

After giving many tens of thousands of my parents', my own, and other people's money to Boston University the LAST thing I was thinking in May of 1998 was, "Hey, they might need a new sidewalk in front of Marsh Chapel, why don't I donate a hundred bucks?"

Especially since I was a student of Film and Television in the College of Communication, moving to Hollywood to pursue an entry level position in the entertainment industry. Out of all of the recent graduates from BU, I most definitely measure in the bottom percentile as far as salary goes. Sure, were I a graduate of the School of Management, School on Engineering, or even the College of General Studies (also known as Crayon, Glue and Scissors) I might have some extra cash lying around. But not in Film and Television. Not yet, at least.

That first year I got a couple of letters asking for money. How they found me, I have no idea, as I had JUST moved to California and most of my friends and family didn't even know my address. It was kind of flattering, at first. "Recent graduate, we think so highly of you and your potential for great earnings that we're asking you for a simple donation: $100, $75, $50 or OTHER:_____."

Sure, I threw the letter away, but it was flattering.

The next letter was the same. But I was less flattered.

The third, fourth and fifth were just downright annoying.

Around October of 1998 I had a brilliant idea. Since these letters were generated on some massive computer, I reasoned, they must have programmed in a failsafe so as not to annoy the people who DO donate money. I mean, if I just had given BU $100 in September, I don't want to see another letter in October, right?

So I decided to test the water. However, I didn't have lots of money to throw away on this errand, so I wrote in a figure after "OTHER:". Fifty cents. Yup, half a buck, two quarters, five dimes, ten nickels. A figure that I could acceptable part with.

This was October of 1998.

I wasn't bothered again until October of 1999.

My plan had worked. I was thrilled. Again I made with the fifty cents.

This time, I even got a nice reply letter, thanking me for my donation of "$000.50".

Last year, I did the same, and also got a nice form letter.

Yesterday I sent out my fourth check to Boston University.

Now, you're probably, as some of my friends constantly are, pissed at me. A waste of the school's resources! A waste of some kids' work/study time, opening my letter and cashing $.50 for the school! A waste of postage on the reply letter! See, I don't look at it that way. I like to think that I'm SAVING Boston University money, so they only have to send me ONE letter a year. Well, TWO I guess technically, since there's the reply.

Also just think about that poor student working for five bucks and hour opening BU's mail, looking at checks for hundreds and hundreds of dollars. He or she gets my letter, opens it and has a good laugh. And not just a laugh, we're talking a big belly laugh. Hell, they might go back to their dorm and tell this story to their friends, how some Alumni is screwing with the system and winning. Damn the Man!

But that's not what I'm trying to do, I'm just being realistic. Why can't they be? Many of these letters come from Bill Lawson, the Chairman of Film and Television in the College of Communication. Shouldn't he know that I'm not making jack yet? He should know better. Graduated: 1998. Lives in: Burbank, California. Works for: Xxxx Xxxxxx Television Animation. Film/TV Credits: 2 - production assistant and additional production support. Potential for giving: slim to none.

I mean, they're a big school. They could do this. In their massive computer where they keep track of all of the graduates, couldn't they cross-reference all of this information?!? "Entertainment Industry Peon. Do not mail until 2008, unless cross-check Daily Variety/Hollwood Reporter front page article."

Until then, I'll be sending my annual $.50.

For further information, please visit the Alumni Web at or contact the Office of Alumni Relations at 599 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215; 800/800-3466 or 617/353-5261; or

home | e-mail

This page made with a Macintosh

Last Updated on: October 01, 2001

© 2001-2004 Joshua Paul Edwards

Subject to change without notice.