Giving some back

Most of us probably can’t afford to take a pay cut.

Most of us probably can’t afford to take a pay cut.

But that’s what university presidents around the nation are doing to give back to their schools. Take Elson S. Floyd, Washington State University president, who made $600,000 in his first year at the university and a $125,000 raise this past summer. In response to the budget problems, he’s vowed to take a voluntary $100,000 pay cut. That’s right, voluntary.

Or University of Washington President Mark Emmert. Sure, he’s the nation’s second-highest-paid public university president, ringing in at $900,000 a year. But he forwent a raise this year too in the name of giving back.

According to a New York Times report, The Chronicle of Higher Education recently published its annual survey of university presidents’ pay. A week later, several of the highest-paid presidents said they would forgo their raises or give back part of their pay.

When I take my family for a drive, my children fight over who is going to sit in the front seat of our family jeep. Whoever gets stuck in the back seat has to scrunch their knees and sit next to the jugs of milk and bags of groceries that won’t fit in the back. My children are preteens, to give you an idea of how long it’s taking me to save for a family sport utility vehicle. Nope, there’s no way I would forgo a raise, let alone a pay cut.

But there is a practical notion that we could all take away from the presidents’ example of giving back. We may not have much to give money wise, but there are other resources left that are just as valuable.

This past week, I have seen Boy Scouts waving at intersections soliciting donations for Hopelink. International Community School senior Mia Cooledge used her time to organize a swing dance to benefit the organization as well.

There are many organizations out there crying for our time. The Kirkland Teen Union Building (KTUB), a youth development program run by Friends of Youth, needs volunteers for its Teen Feed program, which provides meals for up to 100 youngsters every week.

Kirkland Interfaith Transitions in Housing (KITH) needs folks to adopt local needy families for the holidays and Visiting Angels in Kirkland needs people to purchase blankets to Wrap a Senior in Love.

While we may not be able to afford to adopt an entire family or pay for a blanket, why not rally others who can?

We can learn a lot from the high paid officials who make the headlines, but even more from Kirklandites we see waving on corners and standing in front of grocery stores. Let’s give what we can.


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