Senior Class Gift Fundraising Remains Below Years Past

Laura D'Angelo

From the celebration of the number 13 to the torchlight cere­mony, Colgate and its students nev­er fail to keep Colgate’s well-known traditions alive. The tradition of the Senior Class Gift is no exception.

Every year, seniors vote on a collective gift to contribute to Colgate upon their graduation.

“The goal of the Senior Class Gift is both to create a legacy for each in­dividual class as well as to instill the importance of giving back to Col­gate,” senior and Senior Class Gift Committee (SCGC) Chairperson Dana Bohan said.

In October, seniors voted through an online survey cre­ated by SCGC to determine their senior class gift. The results revealed that the 2011 Senior Class Gift would be dedicated to the Alumni Career Services Fund. The aim of this fund is to support the partnership between the Office of Alumni Affairs and the Center for Career Services by offering an online job search tool kit, webinars and various networking opportunities for Colgate alumni.

“Whether an alumnus is searching for their first job, graduating from an advanced degree program and enter­ing the job market, or making a mid-career change, the Center for Career Services will be able to assist with their search,” Assistant Director of the Annual Fund Ashley Foley said

It is hoped that the fund will alleviate some of the pressure on the graduating senior class to find a job in the current job market. The fund­ing will allow Career Services to increase the time and effort they dedicate to helping students find promising positions.

“This class gift is unique in that it impacts the class in practical ways now and in the future. The relationship between alumni and their alma mater is so important, and the Colgate connection is unique – especially when you compare us with our peer schools,” Foley said.

In the past, the Senior Class Gift has been dedi­cated to various causes. The Class of 2010 raised more than $26,000 for an environmental sustainability fund. In 2009, the gift was applied to the Fund for Student Programming at Donovan’s Pub.

Despite the senior class’ impressive commitment to alumni support, the funding for the gift is behind schedule when compared to previous years. The goal for participation this year is 95 percent. Presently, the senior class has a 48 percent level of participation, as compared to 58 percent for the Class of 2010 at this time last year.

“Truthfully, most seniors are pressed for cash right now and, with many of us uncertain about future jobs, I think there is a natural tendency to delay giving,” Bohan said.

Even though the level of student participation is slightly lower right now, Bohan and Foley are still confident that the goal of 95 percent of students donating will definitely be reached.

“The Senior Class Gift Committee is actively educating their fellow classmates about the impor­tance of philanthropy and giving back to Colgate,” Foley said

In order to increase student involvement, the SCGC has organized several fundraisers. So far, the committee has held six different fundraisers, including the Senior Night in the Pub and the Tollhouse Pie Eating Contest. Upcoming fundraisers include Tuition Free Week and a Senior Study Break.