Taryn Sall ’17 did not have the most auspicious first year at Redlands. “I missed home and cried in my dorm room,” she recalls. But, instead of quitting, she applied for an honor society known as SPURS (Service, Patriotism, Unity, Responsibility and Sacrifice): “It was the best decision I could have made.”
Since then, Sall, a psychology major, also joined College High School Alliance Mentoring Program and Service, serving as student director and creating programming for special needs students—a population she hopes to continue to serve after graduation. But Sall’s most memorable extracurricular activities have been with Maroon & Grey Student Ambassadors (MGSA), a student organization that works with alumni.
“MGSA has given me a deeper understanding of the University and a greater appreciation for everything here,” she says. “When I walk through Hunsaker Plaza, I know it was built on the generosity of two extraordinary alumni.” In fact, Sall sat with Rich Hunsaker ’52 and Ginnie Hunsaker ’52 during a Trustee meeting. “Hearing personally about their experiences and why they give … that really motivated me to give back.”
The Hunsakers’ example, along with that of Norm ’63 and Ann Naylor (whose endowed scholarship Sall has received), helped inspire her work with the Bulldog statue project. “When I toured other campuses, I saw statues that people touched for good luck, so I threw out the idea at an MGSA meeting,” she says. “Now it is actually happening.”
Along with Evan Sanford ’17, Erik Chazin ’17 and Belle Tekin ’18, Sall led the campaign’s successful crowdfunding efforts, which included videos and online updates. Sall was insistent that she be the project’s first donor. “I couldn’t campaign and not give,” she explains. “While I wish I could do more, I am doing what I can.”
While a third of the project’s gifts were made by current students—most of whom were giving for the first time—Sall recognizes some struggle with the idea of philanthropy. “Often students think they are already ‘giving’ through tuition,” she notes. “What they don’t understand is they are only paying a portion of that full tuition amount because others have given back.”
Thanks to Sall and all who supported the initiative, the bronze Bulldog statue will be unveiled on April 12. “When I made that gift, I felt like I had come [a long way]from that freshman crying in her dorm … Now I don’t want to leave. Redlands has become my home, and I am proud to leave my mark.”
To learn more about other passion projects like Sall’s, please visit rfund.redlands.edu.
—Laura Gallardo ’03