Seniors to vote on class gift options

Correction appended

The Class of 2011 will begin casting votes next week on whether to direct its annual gift to support a sustainability fund, scholarships, a business plan competition or undergraduate research.

Chosen by members of the Senior class gift committee, the four options are reflective of University President Steven Knapp’s priorities for GW.

The Senior Class Gift Committee comprises about 45 members who compile a list of potential gift ideas. The committee presents the list to the University, which then suggests which ideas would be the most feasible, but the committee makes the final call on which options to present to students.

The Ron Howard Scholarship fund gives money to students who find themselves suddenly unable to pay GW’s tuition. Last fiscal year, 8 students utilized the fund. The Green Campus fund is a $2 million dollar pool used to finance sustainablity projects. The Gamow research program allows undergraduates to conduct research. About 35 to 40 students apply to the fellowship each year.

The yet-to-be-named business competition is an annual contest where students submit business plans. One-hundred and eleven students entered the contest last year.

Seniors are encouraged to donate to any area of the University they choose, whether it is to a student organization, department or elsewhere. Their contributions are matched by GW’s Luther Rice Society, which gives the matching fund to the option the senior class votes for.

Last year, the Class of 2010 directed about $35,000 in donations to Gelman Library – and the money is sitting in a fund meant to renovate the first floor of the 1970s building.

Gelman is not an option for voting this year, despite the fact that the library is short of the $5 million goal stated on its website.

Eric Thibault, a senior and the chairman of the Senior Class Gift Committee, said the class gift is a first chance for students to donate to GW.

“This year [the committee’s goal] is to continue to educate the student body on the value of philanthropy and the importance of giving back to GW,” Thibault, a former Hatchet staff writer, said.

Last year, about 40 percent of the senior class gave money for the class gift. Thibault said the committee wants to see 50 percent of the class participate this year.

Patricia Danver, assistant vice president for communications in the Division of Development and Alumni Relations said she is confident that the number of seniors who give will increase, despite the state of the economy.

“Even in tough times the Senior Class Gift Campaign has dramatically increased its participation rates and dollars raised from seniors over the past three years,” Danver said, noting that gifts of any size count toward participation.

Senior David Glidden said he thinks his class overall has decent options and would probably vote for the scholarship fund. It’s an option many students could relate to, he said.

“The economy is not as bad as it was two years ago, but scholarship is still a big thing,” Glidden said.

This article was updated on Oct. 21, 2010 to reflect the following changes:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported that seniors from the Class of 2010 directed $42,000 to the Gelman library. This is incorrect. The class directed $35,107.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.