by Ty Saini ’93, Alumni Council president
A few years ago, I was walking through my local gym and spotted an advertisement for a new fitness program. The catch phrase was W.I.N.N. — When If Not Now? I must admit, this has resonated with me since that day with much of my daily routines and goals. More recently, I started thinking about how easily I have heard and used the excuse, “I would love to join or help, but I can’t because I am too busy.” Perhaps we are quick to convince ourselves that “this is not the right time” and “maybe in the near future I will have more free time.” When it comes to volunteerism, I wonder how much truth these responses have behind them.
So I decided to look at my own life since I graduated from Dickinson 20 years ago. With my wife’s help, I wrote down key milestones and major events in our lives: the completion of graduate school and residency training, marriage, birth of children, expanding our practices, buying and selling homes, adjusting our work hours to watch our children grow and support their needs, responding to the effects of the recent recession, staying on top of our own professions through continuing education, being available to help our own parents as they age and become ill — well, you get the picture.
I then asked myself if I had been involved in any organization as a volunteer during these important moments. Two themes emerged. First, when I was younger, with fewer responsibilities and more free time, my volunteerism was episodic. I did not really feel invested in what I was asked to help with. Second, during the recent past, as I became more consistently involved, I found myself making a difference, contributing to something bigger than myself and realizing I had the potential to strive for more.
For example, although my family and orthodontic practice were growing, I decided to start teaching post-graduate students on a volunteer basis, accepted leadership roles on three nonprofit boards and completed a number of multisport races, including Ironman triathlons. I became more efficient at work, purposeful at meetings and intentional with my workouts. Of course, all of this was never as important as being a good father and husband. But volunteerism helped me find that balance between family and professional commitments, and it became a great motivator for time management.
As I reflected more, I realized that there are many benefits to volunteering, and each one speaks to us at different times or stages in our lives. The chance to serve others can help you make new friends and contacts, improve your social skills, increase your self-confidence, provide career experience and improve your overall health and well-being.
So we are back to the original question: Is there ever a good time to serve? I believe now is a great time to help Dickinson with your time, treasure and talent. So many metrics indicate the strength and direction of our wonderful institution: the vision, leadership and accomplishments of our immediate past president, William G. Durden ’71; the experience and success that our new president, Nancy Roseman, brings to Dickinson; the multitude of achievements our athletic teams have at the national level; the new buildings and enhanced facilities on campus; increasing applications of highly qualified students for admission; new academic programs and majors; and the overall increased awareness by others that Dickinson offers an outstanding education and opportunity for its students.
Published October 28, 2013