News Feature

Giving Day Begins

Two benefactors talk about the reasons they give

Nick Pirelli, ’06, G’09, and Becca Varney, ’19, give back in more ways than one.

They pursue careers in which they shape future generations, and they haven’t forgotten the organizations that shaped them. 

“Philanthropy is extremely important to me. I’ve always made sure that I give back to organizations that have contributed to my success,” said Pirelli, a communication studies professor with a background in higher education and recreation.

Bridgewater State University is one of those places for Pirelli, who annually donates to the Sponsor-a-Student program. Two years ago, he sponsored Becca, a physical education major with a concentration in recreation. His support extends beyond financial to mentorship.

“It’s not just a blind donation,” he said. “You see a face attached to that student and become a part of their educational journey.”

Becca, who recently accepted a full-time job at the Boys & Girls Club of Marshfield, praised Pirelli’s donation and support.

“It means a lot because college is really expensive, so it helped me out a lot,” Becca said. “Having someone you can always go to and ask about anything is really helpful. I appreciate it.”

Becca, who is from Marshfield, often attended the Boys & Girls Club when she was younger and grew to love the organization. Staff became family and, eventually, co-workers.

“I love their mission and why they care about helping kids in the community,” said Becca, who worked at the Marshfield and Brockton YMCAs while a student. “They helped me out when I was younger.”

Pirelli, who earned degrees in communication studies and management and organizational development from Bridgewater, credits the school with teaching him about character building and leadership while allowing him to explore his passions.

More than a decade later, Becca grew her own leadership skills at Bridgewater, an institution she praises for faculty who are well-versed in their fields.

“They give you real-life experiences,” she said. “The teachers are down to earth and always willing to help you.”

Becca recently received the Massachusetts Recreation and Park Association’s Outstanding Student Award.

“Becca has an active presence in the classroom and is a perfect individual to get a group project rolling, but she also knows how to sit back and let others take the lead,” Pirelli said.  “She is a driven and engaged individual who helped make my classroom a lively environment and safe place to take intellectual risks.  She will be a leader in the workforce.”

As Becca embarks on her post-collegiate career, she’s following in Pirelli’s footsteps by making her first gift to Bridgewater. The donation ties into Giving Day, which lasts 1,840 minutes (BSU was founded in 1840) from 2 p.m. April 24 to 8:40 p.m. April 25.

“BSU just does a lot for students in general. They’ve given you four years of education,” she said about giving back. “I think it’s just what you should do.”

Do you have a BSU story you'd like to share? Email stories@bridgew.edu.