The Collegian
Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Students have more control of senior gift

“Everyone likes free beer!”

This was how Josh Stoudt, co-chairman of the senior class gift campaign, explained the new strategy in increasing senior gift donations. Events involving complimentary beer and food have been major attractions for potential senior donors.

In past years, University of Richmond’s senior class gift has focused on a single class contribution. Benches were constructed and a tree was planted for seniors to give back to campus as their first donation as new alumni.

Recent construction and lack of abundant campus land has made it difficult to provide a bench for every senior class. Alumni who return to campus have become upset when new construction plans had involved the displacement of their gift, said Lily Mawby, co-chairwoman of the senior class gift campaign.

This year, senior donations will be made more flexible with a multitude of options. Instead of one class gift, students can donate to a school or campus organization of their choice.

“People are happier to donate because they know where their money is going,” Mawby said. Instead of funding the school as a whole, students can fund based on interest.

For example, a business school graduate who feels personally connected to the Robins School of Business can specify his or her contribution to this school. In addition, a member or supporter of a club sport can donate to that particular organization’s budget, Mawby said.

Although contributions to specific sororities and fraternities are prohibited, a student can donate to Panhellenic Council and Interfraternity Council.

Last year the senior class raised an estimated $7,000. As of now, the campaign has raised an estimated $3,500, not including funds earned at their last event. This year’s goal is $8,020.15 in honor of the graduating year of 2015, Mawby and Stoudt said.

Last week’s fundraiser at The Cellar offered a “one free beer” voucher to students attending the event. This same fundraising technique was used last semester at another event at The Cellar. This encourages seniors to donate on site, Mawby and Stoudt said.

All events provided for the donors are funded through the annual giving department. This department is composed of mostly alumni who endorse the annual fund.

“The goal is to raise the percentage of students donating to 70 percent,” Mawby said. As the percentage of donors rises, the value of the new alumni’s diploma also increases. When the new alumni donate, the university’s rankings increase and so does the value of their diplomas.

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In February, after an unspecified, Saturday basketball game, a post-game will be offered around 6 p.m. Seniors who donate will be allowed entrance to one of the stadium’s new upstairs terraces as a donation perk.

A St. Patrick’s Day party will also take place in the Greek Theater this March. There will be a band, beer trucks and food offered at this event, also exclusive to senior donors.

Contact reporter Holly Speck at holly.speck@richmond.edu

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