WEB EXTRA: Senior class to give gift of service

As their undergraduate careers come to a close, members of the senior class are planning to give back to Foggy Bottom by creating the Community Service Project Fund, a gift that will provide grants for student-run events.

For the third year in a row, the senior class’ contribution will establish an endowment for GW, allowing the gift to live on after the class of 2006 has graduated.

“The Community Service Project Fund is unique because it is the first gift to establish a grant that any student or student group may apply for,” said Carrie Warick, senior class gift coordinator.

By the end of the semester, the senior class hopes to raise enough money to provide five grants worth $500 each. Ideally, the number of grants will increase each year as the endowment grows in size.

“With a constantly changing urban setting, there is no guarantee that a bench paid for by the senior class will be there many years from now. Since the interest in the endowment grows every year, our gift will stay at GW forever,” Warick said.

In September, students were able to submit gift ideas online through the senior class gift Web site. After the committee narrowed the list to three choices, including a study abroad scholarship and a textbook fund, seniors were able to vote online.

“Although the other options had support from the class, this idea was clearly the winner,” Warick said.

Seniors were encouraged to attend meetings throughout first semester. During the upcoming months, the class will focus on how to publicize the gift and raise as much money as possible.

Last year, 22 percent of the seniors donated to the 2005 gift – a Sept. 11 scholarship fund for rising seniors – but this year’s committee hopes the level of participation will be much higher for the 2006 class. All seniors will receive a phone call and will be encouraged to contribute money to the fund.

In addition, every senior who gives $20.06 or more will receive a newly designed senior class t-shirt.

GW basketball player Mike Hall, a senior and committee member, is working to spread publicity about this year’s gift. He created a video about the Community Service Project Fund that is being played at the Smith Center during home games.

Seniors interviewed by The Hatchet overwhelmingly approved of the grant.

“Providing student groups with grants is a much better gift for the GW community than building a useless statue or bench,” senior Emily Zeigenfuse said.

“I think this gift will have a long lasting impression on GW in comparison to some of the other proposed ideas,” senior Scott Farbish said.

The committee will be holding a kickoff event Feb. 7 at Kogan Plaza where seniors can grab hot chocolate and cider and contribute to the class gift.

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