Alumnus sees giving as a responsibility

Fundraising is not a taboo topic for JJ Machalski (BMgt '09).

As a student, he and his fellow University of Lethbridge Model United Nations members collectively raised nearly $40,000 over the course of three years in order to attend several Model UN conferences in Ottawa and New York City. This fundraising allowed all students in the club, regardless of financial situation, the opportunity to expand their learning. Now an alumnus, Machalski finds himself on the other side of fundraising.

JJ Machalski
Alumnus JJ Machalski, with his fiancé Christa Klapko, also a U of L alum, sees the value of giving back to future generations of students.

This spring, Machalski received a call from a student at the U of L Call Centre. When asked if he would like to support the University, Machalski was happy to do so – knowing that with his help, current students could overcome financial barriers and gain unique learning opportunities just as he and his fellow Model UN members did.

"Money should never be a barrier to education," he emphasizes. "The more we can help those who can't afford to get an education, the better."

A 2009 graduate, Machalski earned a degree in accounting at the U of L. Leading a busy student life, he was president of the Model UN club for two years and acting president for a third, as well as Students' Union Management Representative and Director for two years. Machalski enjoyed the close-knit community at the University.

"I enjoyed the relationships I was able to develop with students, faculty, and staff," he says. "The accessibility to professors was amazing. I was never a number at the U of L."

Although he now lives in Calgary working as an accountant at Encana, Machalski continues to be an engaged member of the University community. He regularly attends alumni events in Calgary and occasionally returns to campus.

"Last year I attended convocation," he says. "Walking around the school gave me goosebumps, seeing the blue and gold flags and everyone in their gowns. I'm very proud to be an alumnus of the U of L."

Giving to the U of L is another way Machalski stays connected to his alma mater. Machalski supports the University out of both gratitude and responsibility.

"I feel that it's my duty to give back to the institution that has given me so much," he says. "I think it's the responsibility of all alumni to support the U of L in order to enable current students to have the same experience they had – and maybe even better."

Machalski is proud to support the University and hopes that others will join him.

"I encourage other alumni to do what they can to support this wonderful institution," he says. "The U of L has a great reputation. Let's work to give it an even better one."