Senior gift will go to scholarship fund

Seniors will direct their class gift to an emergency scholarship fund that gives undergraduate students who suddenly lost the ability to pay their tuition a financial award.

Nearly 60 percent of the 700 seniors who voted chose the Ron Howard Emergency Scholarship Fund, which is aimed at aiding student leaders on campus.

The fund was one of four choices seniors were given to vote on last week. Other options included the Green Campus Fund, undergraduate research opportunities and the GW Business Plan Competition.

Coordinator Eric Thibault declined to say how much the organization hopes to raise for the fund this year but has said in the past he wants to see 50 percent of the class participate.

Seniors are able to direct their gift to any are of the University and the Luther Rice Society – a branch of the Alumni Association – will match the gift and direct it to the scholarship fund. Students are also able to send money to the scholarship fund themselves.

Thibault said this year brought out a record number of voters for the annual class contribution.

“Roughly 700 seniors voted this year via text message or e-mail, an increase from the 500 seniors who voted last year,” Thibault said.

Voting occurred for the gift Oct. 25 and 26, with students able to submit their choice via text message or the organization’s website.

“I think this choice in particular reflects the fact that seniors understand the importance of expanding financial aid opportunities for fellow students, in light of difficult economic times,” Thibault said. “Contributing the matched Senior Class Gift to this fund enables us to ensure that fellow students will not be forced to leave GW due to a sudden change in their financial status.”

Thibault, a former Hatchet staff writer, said the Green Campus Fund – which supports efforts for sustainable enterprises at the University – received the second-most number of votes.

The Class of 2010 raised more than $31,000 for the Gelman Library Restoration Fund, the class gift last year. Overall, the class raised $75,000 for various gifts spread throughout the University.

Students will have until June 2011 to make a donation to the Senior Class Gift.

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