Last week, I opened my mailbox to find a pamphlet from Yale soliciting donations as part of its Bulldog Blitz to gather donations from 1,890 alumni in one week. I’d like to take some time to respond.

I’m a fairly active alum. I attended three Association of Yale Alumni assemblies and served on the board of Yale alumni groups. I interview for the Alumni Schools Committee and former students of mine are on campus. In all of this, I’ve been motivated by my desire to expand the idea of what Yale is: to support first-generation or from working class-families in knowing they belong and can shape the institution.

All of this to say: I care about Yale. I think it’s important to note all of this before publicly responding to this campaign. I’d like to do so by describing my own Bulldog Blitz. On Monday, April 16, myself and several alumni donated and cajoled our friends to fundraise for several dozen undergrads that were arrested for demanding a more just financial aid policy. The arrests were a shameful act of cowardice that sought to silence students through financial coercion. I and many others refused to let that happen.

Thus, in honor of Bulldog Blitz, I’d like to make a pledge: Rather than giving financially to the University, I choose from now to give to student activists who demand equal access and opportunity in the Yale they were promised and that the University can fulfill. The gaps in my own Yale experience should not be replicated for a new generation.

I hope others will join me in this endeavor.

Ferny Reyes ’10