The most defining moment in Alyssa Collins’ Villanova experience didn’t happen on campus.
During her junior year at Villanova University, she traveled to Belize to help build houses for families in need. “It was such an eye-opening experience,” Alyssa says. “Families in this community live in homes that are 12 feet by 12 feet. That made me realize just how fortunate I am and that some of the things I have, I really don’t need. I decided to leave some of my clothing and a pair of sneakers in Belize and donated additional things when I got home.” She enjoyed the experience so much that she traveled to Peru during her senior year. “If you do one thing at Villanova, it has to be a break trip,” she adds.
That initial trip to Belize, funded by The Father Ray Jackson Memorial Scholarship, would not have been possible without donor support. With the financial burden relieved, she was able to ignite change for an impoverished community. So when she was asked to join the Young Alumni Circle, she decided to dedicate her gift to the same scholarship fund that gave her a life-changing experience.
Yet giving back as an alumna wasn’t her first philanthropic experience at Villanova.
As an undergraduate student, Alyssa admits she was a bit shy, so in her freshman year she worked for the Phonathon where she honed her communication skills by calling alumni, parents and friends to ask them to support Villanova. During her sophomore year, she assisted in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean’s Office where she was able to see the impact of alumni giving on the student experience first-hand. This motivated Alyssa to inspire more alums to give back through her Phonathon calls. She was also a founding member of the Student Alumni Association (SAA) and a Senior Class Gift committee member.
Her engagement as a student has fueled her drive to remain engaged as an alumna.
In the summer, she enjoys attending New Student Send-Offs in her hometown of Syracuse. She proudly cheered on the Wildcats when they won the National Championship in Houston in 2016. She’s also part of a Villanova family—her brother is a current VSB junior and follows in her footsteps as a member of SAA and works in the Alumni Relations department.
This June, Alyssa will return to campus for her five-year Reunion as a co-chair of the Class of 2012 Reunion Committee. But in many ways, for this committed Wildcat, it will be like she never left.