The class of 2012 senior class gift committee is focused more on participation than a dollar amount, co-chairman Dwayne Foster said.
"Alumni satisfaction is one of the factors that goes into our ranking," Bryarly Richards, co-chairwoman of the committee said, "and they factor that by how much alumni give back. So, the more people we have participating in giving, the higher our rankings for alumni satisfaction will be."
Foster said they hoped to reach 85 percent participation from the senior class in this year's donations, themed "Pay it Forward." The committee is made up of the two co-chairmen and about 23 seniors, who are given groups of 15 other seniors to solicit donations from, Caitlin Manak, a member on the committee, said. The committee asks for whatever students can donate, she said, but suggests around $20.
If a senior donates $100-$249, he or she is considered to be on the leadership level, and any senior who gives $250 or more is on the young rectors level.
Seniors may honor a teacher or allocate their donations to a specific department or cause, Manak said. Richards said the donations that did not have a specified allocation would go into the Annual Fund.
"It's like giving someone a Visa gift card," Richards said. "You can use it wherever you want. It goes into financial aid and basically anything the university needs."
Richards said the Annual Fund, which is made up of donations from alumni and the senior class, helped pay for financial aid and for every student's tuition.
"If we did not have the amount of alumni support that we do," she said, "our tuition would be about $17,000 more."
The committee markets its campaign through Facebook, flyers and emails, Richards said. Monday night the committee went door-to-door at the apartments to solicit donations in person, Foster said. Last year, this was how the committee received the most donations, he said.
The committee held a fundraiser at the Cellar yesterday at 9 p.m. For $10, students were given access to a food buffet and one drink ticket for a draft beer.
"We're trying to focus on education," Richards said. "Before this year I didn't even know what [the senior gift] was." Richards said before this year she had thought that the senior class donated an object to the university with the funds the senior gift committee raised, but later found out the gift was a monetary donation.
Manak said, "It's important for students to think about future students and how they want to see the university after we're gone.
This story has been updated to make the correction that students need to donate $100 to be considered leadership level, not $150.
Contact staff writer Brittany Brady at firstname.lastname@example.org.