Graduation nearing, senior gift still short of goal

By Rachel Cromidas

The Senior Gift Committee is kicking its fundraising efforts into high gear as it races to garner donations from at least 80 percent of the senior class before the close of the academic year. To date, 37 percent of this year’s class has donated to the senior gift fund, said Anna Snoeyenbos, the committee’s co-chair.

“We been doing really well up until basically the last week,” Snoeyenbos said. “But unfortunately right now we’re a little behind last year.”

The Committee is eager to reach at least the 55-percent donation mark, Snoeyenbos said. U of C alum John Fife has pledged to donate $25 thousand when the Committee reaches that threshold.

Fourth-year John Sylak donated $20.08, the amount the Committee requests of potential donors because of its reference to their year of graduation.

“I think that everyone should donate at least a dollar, just to drive the participation rate up, so the big donors will give,” he said. “That’s where the real money is.”

The senior gift, which is no longer used to pay for structural additions to campus—the C-bench and the clock in front of the Regenstein are notable examples of previous senior gifts—is instead directed to a College Fund set up to support financial aid, study abroad opportunities, and other University programs specifically for undergraduate students.

“I think that it’s important to give a little bit back—they’re not asking for much,” said fourth-year Bridget Madden.

But to Snoeyenbos, donating to the senior gift is about much more than reaching a quota.

“The point is to make a statement through participation and spirit that we are grateful for the education that we received and that we want this to continue for future generations,” she said.

Fourth-year Alexandra Jamali has not donated to the senior gift yet, but said she plans to.

“It’s on my list of things to do. I definitely think it’s important because it’s a small, visible token of our appreciation. And I don’t think of it as just money for the University, but also for fellow students.”

For students like Jamali who haven’t yet taken the opportunity to give, the Senior Gift Committee is planning several events in the coming weeks to promote the gift, Snoeyenbos said. The next event will be a “Faculty and Fourth-Years” mixer May 14 in the basement of Ida Noyes.

“We’re going to have some beer and wine and food donated from the Pub, and some of our favorite faculty members are invited, too,” she said. “It’s a nice opportunity for the senior class to talk, enjoy a few drinks of the amazing faculty at this school. And how that’s only really possible because of the generosity of alumni, which we are soon to be,” she said.

Faculty members invited to the party include Herman Sinaiko, Dennis Hutchinson, Christina von Nolcken, Charles Lipson, and Steven Levitt.

The committee will also have a table at Summer Breeze this weekend.

“We still feel really confident that we will reach our goal, but this is really crunch time,” Snoeyenbos said.