It is a typical February day at the University of Oregon campus: cold and rainy with students slumping their way to classes they had the motivation to get out of bed for. But instead of napping in the dorms, one second-term freshman sits inside former President Richard Lariviere’s office pitching a scholarship plan.
This freshman, now a sophomore, is Amanda Meyer. Meyer is an educational foundation major, women’s studies minor, Alpha Chi Omega sorority sister, former tennis player, and avid fan of the television show Damages.
Coming into school, Meyer originally went into business after being involved in the Future Business Leaders of America program in high school. After realizing it required a lot of math, she switched to journalism. And then after realizing she hated writing, she switched to education.
Growing up in Tigard, OR, with a mom, two aunts, and an uncle who graduated from the U of O, it seemed the perfect fit. After a parents weekend in February 2011 where they found out about the potential tearing down of the Hamilton and Bean residence hall complexes, her family told her that something had to be done to condone the memories of the dorms, including Robbins Hall in Hamilton where her mother once lived. Being family oriented, Meyer took her parent’s advice and started coming up with a plan.
After the persuasion from her parent’s visit to become involved with the remodel of the residence hall complexes, Meyer met with former president Lariviere to pitch an idea she and her father came up with.
Assuming the residence halls are torn down for remodel, Meyer thought to sell bricks to alumni and former residents to be engraved and create a pathway leading up to the new complexes. It would raise money and give alumni an opportunity to make their mark on the university.
Meyer titled her scholarship plan, “Pathway to the Future.” The money raised by selling each brick for $100-125 would go into a lottery scholarship fund for students that do not have scholarships already. Each term a new student’s name, who does not already have scholarships, would randomly be drawn and awarded a scholarship.
After hearing Meyer’s plan, Lariviere helped her along the way by sending her to the development office that deals with fundraising, scholarships, and alumni aid and communicating his support of the program with those university officials.
After she met with Michael Andreasen, vice president of development, as well as communicating via phone and email, the plan plateaued. But Meyer, along with Lariviere, continued to revise and pitch the idea to Andreasen.
“They knew I wasn’t going to give up. I came there in my business attire saying I’m very passionate about this and this needs to happen,” Meyer says about her meetings with Andreasen.
After Lariviere’s firing in November, Meyer lost her main support and her motivation to continue with the plan when her emails and phone calls began to go unanswered.
Meyer backed off the program feeling stuck and unsupported, but she recently decided to reach back out to Andreasen and see if more progress could be made.
Meyer and Andreasen are now in conversation about reviving this plan and putting it into motion, but they must overcome obstacles. Financial costs, where to place the pathways, and how to get alumni and students involved are some of the obstacles, but they are working together to refine the logistics of the plan.
“I’m really inspired by her energy and passion and her vision. I think her core agenda and beliefs that students and alumni can contribute back to support future students is what we’re all about,” Andreasen says.
More settled into school, with a major and minor, Meyer is focusing on finalizing a plan a year in the making.
“If I could help someone who can’t otherwise afford to go to school here a little bit, why not?” Meyer says.