From building transportation devices with the CMU Hyperloop team to organizing hackathons with CMU MellonHeads, School of Computer Science junior Hima Tammineedi is busy. But the computer science major — who's also pursuing a machine learning minor — knows that he's been incredibly fortunate to have the chance to expand his computer science interests and participate in meaningful activities with his friends. And because of that, he's made it a personal goal to give back to his community — and to encourage his peers to do the same.
As a member of CMU's Student Giving Committee, Tammineedi helps the Office of Annual Giving encourage more students to give back and donate to the university through events, fundraisers and other activities.
"If you compare CMU's endowment to other peer institutions of our caliber, you'll notice that we have a much smaller endowment — around one-seventh or less of the size of our peer institutions," Tammineedi said. "CMU has already done so much even with this smaller endowment, but we could probably do more if we had even more support from alumni, and especially from students."
One of the committee's most successful events was a casino night fundraising event for seniors graduating this spring. In addition to competing in games, raffles and prizes, students attending the event could also donate to CMU. The committee also encourages students to donate within their departments, through funds like the Mark Stehlik SCS Alumni Undergraduate Impact Scholarship. This year, in honor of Stehlik graduating his 3,000th CMU student, a group of SCS alumni has pledged to donate $4,000 to the fund if more than a third of the Class of 2018 donates to CMU.
"It doesn't matter how much you give, it only matters whether you give," Tammineedi said. "The strength of an institution is not measured by the amount it earns, but from what it produces. That production comes from people who make up the institutions. If students gave even $5, if that's within their means, over time that adds up and contributes to the power of people donating."
Tammineedi's passion for giving back to his community, especially to SCS, stems from the opportunities he says he was fortunate to receive. "As I become an upperclassman, I feel like my time here is ending soon. It's made me more aware of what I want my time here to be like and what I've gotten out of CMU," he said.
While Tammineedi acknowledges that it is not within everyone's means to donate, he still encourages students to give back to their communities in any way they can.
"College is a transcendent moment in our lives, because here is where we have the greatest upward learning trends and the greatest amount of peers open to friendship and collaboration," he said. "It's a slingshot that brings us into the rest of our lives. CMU specifically has given me a lot of opportunities, and I'm sure it's been great for others as well. I want to preserve that, and make it better for others."