The Wharton Undergraduate Giving Society wants you to “pay it forward.”
WUGS will launch a new app on on Monday which they hope will promote giving in business and education. Called the Giving Board, the app facilitates helpful exchanges between Wharton students.
The app welcomes a wide range of non tangible gifts, from academic help to travel advice.
The group seeks to spread the notion of “giving selfishly,” a term coined by management professor Adam Grant in his book, “Give and Take,” from which many of WUGS’s objectives stemmed. A selfish giver does not expect immediate gratification, but builds up good will unintentionally over the long run through generous and helpful behavior, Grant writes.
“A core message behind Adam Grant’s book is that even if you’re naturally a taker and you’re skeptical of being taken advantage of, in the community setting, even when you start out as a taker, you feel the need to reciprocate because that’s just human tendency,” Wharton senior Yasmina Abdel-Malek said.
WUGS is hosting a Give-a-Thon this week in Huntsman Hall, which will feature a series of events throughout the week. Tuesday will feature free hot chocolate and “giving cookies” — fortune cookies with inspiring messages encouraging people to “Give a hug!” or “Give a smile!” On Thursday, WUGS will have a Secret Givers table, where people can arrange donations to charitable organizations on behalf of another person. WUGS will also distribute about 200 “Giving Wristbands,” which people can pass along to those who do them favors in lieu of saying thank you.
Abdel-Malek, along with Wharton senior Mijana Djurdjevic and College and Wharton senior Taylor McConnell, founded WUGS after pursuing the idea in Grant’s Organizational Behavior class in 2012. As part of the class, they participated in a consulting project involving some organizational issue within a company. Abdel-Malek, Djurdjevic and McConnell decided to study Wharton. Their research developed into an independent study, which became a precursor to WUGS itself.
“Wharton has an image that’s cutthroat and competitive, but that’s not necessarily true,” Djurdjevic said. “We want to prove that.”
Officially formed last spring, WUGS co-hosted one of Wharton’s monthly Wonderful Wednesdays, a networking event for Wharton students, and held an event called Giving Wars where people posted sticky notes on a board asking for or offering help. The group also organized an MBA breakfast panel that drew forty attendees.
In the future, Abdel-Malek, Djurdjevic and McConnell hope to turn the app into a tab on the WUGS website which will be integrated with their Facebook page. It will feature a forum where individuals can share their own stories of giving.
So far, the Wharton community has greeted WUGS positively.
“I can’t wait to see the changes it brings to the Wharton community,” Wharton freshman Matthew Immerso said. “WUGS can bring us together into a tighter knit community.”
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