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This week, the Street decided to ask a variety of Princeton students about their thoughts on giving and “giving back.”

The Daily Princetonian: When you hear the phrase “giving back,” what comes to mind?

Ananya Joshi 19: A sense of gratitude for all that I have been given, and a willingness to do the same for someone else as much as everyone has done for me.

Yowan Ramchoreeter 19: Investing my time to helping people.

Delaney Thull 19: I think of family, community, church, and spending time with the people you love and trying to go out of your way to serve other people.

Benjamin Eisner 17: Giving back to your community and friend groups — your community radiates out — mainly in terms of donations of time, money, and gift-giving.

Alana Clark 19: I typically think of the community I came from just because it’s more of an underprivileged one. So that’s what we always focus on, not just during the holidays but throughout the entire year.

Malachi Byrd 19: For me, giving back means, “What am I doing to provide for people that have my circumstances?” When I was at the beginning of my journey, people helped me. Giving back to me is like being that person that helped me, whether that is being a black boy, a poor person, a person with a single mother. Whatever my identity is, or whatever aspects of the world I identity with and challenge, I want to make sure that people can make the journey that I made because I did not do it on my own.

DP: Do you think giving back matters more during the holiday period? If yes, why? If no, why not?

Samantha Newman 18: I would say yes because during the year you’re busy and caught up with everything, and you don’t think about everything that someone might be doing for you or someone means to you. It becomes more salient during a time of giving and thanksgiving.

Belinda Azamati 19: I think giving back is not just something you do at a time of year but a lifestyle.

Christine Lu 20: I don’t think it matters more, but it’s good to have the mentality that it does because it motivates people to want to give back more. If it were just the same throughout the year, people would not be motivated as much but if there is one set time during the holidays, they will be more likely to give back.

DP: Has anyone or any situation inspired you to want to give back to your community?

AC: When I was in high school, my boss, who owned her own business, always stressed giving back. She never paid attention to money and profit; it was always for charity. She owned a fashion store, so she would host charity fashion show events. I was able to learn different ways to be charitable and fundraise, which really inspired me to always do the same thing she did and never chase money but to chase happiness instead. In the end, what makes you happy as a person is knowing that you make a difference in someone’s life. My boss definitely inspired me to think about other people before yourself.

Wolfgang Beck 18: Since coming to Princeton, I have met a lot of people from different places around the world, and this time of the year, this year especially, I’m worried about the state of our country as far as it goes with immigrants because there is a lot of hatred and xenophobia in our country right now. One way that I want to give back is to promote love between people.

DP: What message would you tell people when considering the phrase, “giving back”?

MB: My message would be to assess your perspective. To those who wish to give back to a community, you should consider who you are giving back to, and why you are giving back to them. Ask yourselves, what makes you immune from being given back to? Why are you not in this allotted group of people that you think that you should give back to? I want to challenge people to reassess their boundaries of who deserves to be given back to, or who should be given back to, and where they are in relation to that.

DP: If you had a blank check of time, money, and resources, what would you give? To whom?

Sophia Taylor ’20: I would take my mum on a vacation because I know she works really hard, and she’s honestly the best.

SN: I would probably give my parents a honeymoon because they never got to have one.

YR: I feel very strongly about food issues. So, with an unrestricted amount of money, I would try to help out countries that are struggling with food crises, such as famines.

BA: I would give an education, even though it is not tangible, because I think a quality education opens so many doors. A cool thing about knowledge is that once you know something, you know it. Once you know it, you’re empowered. A region in the world that is especially close to my heart is Sub-Saharan Africa. Education inequality definitely exists in many Sub-Saharan African countries, like my home country of Togo, especially with girls. So if I could, I would give the gift of education to girls.

Deniz Lenger ’17: The environmental concerns that are occurring across the world are one of the problems that are very prevalent to our generation. So, I would hope to give back in a way to help fix the environmental problems we have, in order to leave a better planet for the future generations.

AJ: If I had all the money, I would give money to improve all the public education systems. Also, even though I am not an expert, I would volunteer my time to help out in some way concerning education.

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