Column: Giving more

Josh Schimmerling and I were initially reluctant to accept the charge of co-chairing the Class of 2004’s Senior Class Gift Campaign. After four years of tuition payments, library printing and Student Health fees, we felt that we had paid our dues to the University. So why were we being asked – as students – to lead a major effort to convince our fellow classmates to give more to GW?

The answer: our tuition and fees only cover a portion of our actual cost of attendance. The buildings we learn in, the professors we learn from, the parks and open space across campus, the scholarships and financial aid that enabled us to attend school here – our way of GW life as we know it – was brought to us thanks to the generosity of those who walked the Quad before us. As we prepare to graduate from GW, it is important for us to begin to realize our responsibility to provide the same opportunities for future generations of GW students.

The Senior Class Gift gives us the opportunity to begin fulfilling our responsibility to our alma mater today. GW’s senior classes have a tradition of making a gift to the University, beginning in the 1980s. Landmarks such as the phone booth at the intersection of G and 22nd streets and the mosaic featured prominently in the Marvin Center Main Lobby are the result of senior classes’ energy and financial support. By organizing and financing a campus project, GW seniors leave behind a bit of their own personality and a sign of our times in which we can take pride year after year. This year, more than 1,000 members of our class voted in January to create the “Class of 2004 Gelman Library Book Fund.” The gift will start a fund to purchase books – every year – for the Gelman Library in honor of our class.

The impact of our collective gift to GW is great. Future classes will surely benefit from the Class of 2004’s annual contribution of books to enrich Gelman Library’s permanent collections. We joined many of our classmates in making contributions to start the Book Fund, recognizing the value of this project. We are grateful to those generous students who have joined us in supporting the Class of 2004 gift for their commitment to supporting our alma mater. But there is still more work to be done. In order to reach our goal of $25,000 to begin the Book Fund, smaller gifts are crucial. Even a pledge of $20.04 for the year involves you in GW life and boosts the percentage of alumni giving, helping our University improve its services and offerings and advance its ranking in U.S. News and World Report.

Your relationship to GW didn’t begin when you applied, and it won’t end when you leave. Alumni funding nurtured the programs that attracted you here, and your contribution will further its success for future generations of Colonials.

For those who say, “I’ve given enough to GW,” we reply, “Have you?”

-The writer, a senior, is Program Board parties chair.

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