University of Southern California

USC Student Affairs and Campus Life

Students Share Attitude of Gratitude With Parents, Families

By Diane Ver Steeg Anderson Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sophomore Aarti Chandorkar (center) with parents Aru and Vibhas ChandorkarPhoto by Nathan CarterSophomore Aarti Chandorkar (center) with parents Aru and Vibhas Chandorkar

Hundreds of students are thanking their parents and families through personal letters of gratitude, and the Office for Parent Programs is supplying note cards and postage to send them anywhere in the world.

The Days of Gratitude letter writing campaign gives students an opportunity to connect with their parents and families and “send a friendly hello and thank them,” according to Beth Saul, assistant dean of Student Affairs and director of Parent Programs.

“This is a way for our incredibly blessed students to give their parents a little gratitude,” she said.

What started out a few years ago “as a small gift from the Office for Parent Programs to the student body,” Days of Gratitude has grown exponentially, according to Lily Ball, program assistant in the Office for Parent Programs and coordinator of the efforts.

“This year, we’ve sent out about 250 cards, but that number is going to double before the end of the year,” she said. “We’re still giving out cards by the handful. I shouldn’t be surprised at the level of enthusiasm the students have for a program like this.”

Gauri Khanolkar, a Ph.D. student in the Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering program, wrote to his parents in New Delhi, India, before Thanksgiving. “I told them that I was fortunate to have them as my parents and thanked them for making so many sacrifices so I could have the best, and for being the most supportive, loving and encouraging parents ever,” he said. “Like so many others, I do not always express or vocalize my appreciation for my parents as often as I should, and I thought this was a perfect opportunity to do just that.”

Maxinne Vergara, a junior majoring in business administration with a minor in music industry, heard about the program on myUSC.

“I saw an article about Student Affairs offering thank you letters to parents, so I thought it was a nice idea to send them a little token of my appreciation for all they’ve done for me,” said Vergara, whose family lives in Chino Hills, Calif. “I thanked my parents for all their hard work, support and love. It has been a rough year, but with my parents and brother, I know everything will be okay.”

Sara Pfirrmann was thrilled when her son Charles, a senior who is double majoring in business finance and accounting, sent her a letter.

“It is so rare to receive something handwritten these days. Emails, texts and phone calls, but never a treasure in the mail,” said Pfirrman, a Parents Council member who lives in Mission Viejo, Calif. “He thanked me for all the things I do for him, but especially for the time and effort I give to his fraternity house. He said he doesn’t tell me often enough how thankful he is and how much he loves me.”

Maria Riley, assistant director in the Office for Parent Programs, liked the idea so much that she decided to send a letter to her mom, who lives in Minneapolis, Minn., to thank her “for always being there for me.”

“Handwriting an actual letter seems like it’s becoming a lost art form,” said Riley. “My mother is always asking me to write her a letter, because it means so much to her to receive something handwritten in the mail. Parents like to hear from you no matter what age you are.”

For more information, contact Lily Ball at (213) 740-2080, or visit Student Union 200.

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