The Collegian
Sunday, December 10, 2023

Senior Class working to reach its goal for the class gift

As first semester reaches its end, the senior class is still less than halfway to achieving its goal for the class gift.

Seniors have racked up 32 percent participation among its members and raised about $18,000, but the class goal is to garner 70 percent participation and raise $35,000.

A committee of more than 30 seniors are working to raise the money. Ted Ahrens, a senior class gift chairman, said he tried to form a diverse committee in order to solicit donations from many different groups on campus.

"I personally don't know anyone on the school soccer team, but there are people on the committee who go after athletes," Ahrens said. "We get a more diverse range instead of just fraternities and sororities."

The committee is trying to raise money by setting up tables in Tyler Haynes Commons to collect donations, running ads in The Collegian and soliciting residents of the University Forest Apartments in an effort to increase participation.

The committee is also planning a Mardi Gras senior social to raise funds for the gift. The social, which will include a live band and beer, will be held Feb. 8 in the Millhiser Gym. Ahrens said the class of 2007 had culled a little more money by this time last year, but he said he was not concerned about the current level of participation.

"I'm very confident we will break last year's record," Ahrens said. "A lot of people give for the Mardi Gras party because only donors can come. That's where we get our huge push."

Ahrens said the committee is offering other incentives for donations. Those who donate at least $250 become part of the Young Rectors Society. Members of the society are invited to various events throughout the year, such as open-bar tailgates at a football game, a formal cocktail party in the spring, an open bar event during alumni weekend, as well as being recognized at graduation. So far, 56 seniors are part of the Young Rectors Society.

Tara Olive, the associate director of Annual Programs, Reunions and Senior Class, said the class gift money comes entirely from students. She said seniors can choose where they want their donations to go.

"They can designate their gift to whatever was most important to them at their time in Richmond," Olive said.

The average gift size is $95.65, but Ahrens said the amount people give varies.

"We've had $2 to $500, so it's a big range," Ahrens said. "It depends on your financial situation and how much you want to give to the specific area you're giving to. Twenty-five dollars gets you a class of 2008 Richmond pint glass, so that is just one incentive."

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Senior Laura Coutts, who donated to the women's soccer team, said she thought it was good that she could specify where she wanted her money to go.

"If there's an organization that I felt strongly about that supported me, then I want to support it when I leave Richmond," Coutts said. "Plus you get a sweet pint glass."

Ahrens said that most students are happy to give once they know they can donate to a specific organization.

"People give once they realize that it doesn't go to the school, it goes to a particular group," Ahrens said. "It doesn't go to pay Dr. Ayers's salary."

Gerard Gomes, whose picture is featured on the thank you letters sent out to those who have donated, said he was planning to participate.

"I've been hassled to donate, I just haven't gotten around to it yet," Gomes said. "I just haven't chosen a specific group to donate to because I'm not in any specific organizations on campus. You get a thank you letter with my face on it, so I guess that's something to look forward to."

Senior Courtney Arseneault said she had other reasons for donating.

"I felt like it was my duty to," Arseneault said. "I did it because I want that thermometer in the Pier to reach our goal"

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