With fewer than 100 days left on the Hilltop, some members of the senior class have decided to pay it forward. The Crier met with Erin Lally, chair of the Senior Class Gift Committee, to learn more about the anticipated gift: a scholarship.
The purpose of the scholarship, Lally explained, was to teach seniors about the importance of philanthropy, all while “giving back to what you love.” For this reason, a $5,000 scholarship, aptly named the Class of 2019 Scholarship, was preferred over a tangible gift.
The campaign had two slogans which, according to Lally, captured the values of the senior class and emphasized the intentions behind the class gift. These slogans were “Leaving our legacy” and “Opening the door for future Anselmians.”
The $5,000 scholarship consists of three parts: $1,250 donated by seniors, $1,250 donated by families of seniors, and a matching $2,500 donation from an anonymous alum.
The campaign ran from Jan. 31 to Feb. 7 (the 7th being the 100 days until commencement mark). During this campaign, seniors were called on to “make a gift to support what they love most about Saint A’s,” according to the campaign’s promotional video. The seniors’ $1,250 goal was exceeded.
Parents were asked, via email, to donate when there were two days remaining in the campaign. As of the afternoon of Thursday, Feb. 14, the parents’ $1,250 had not been reached. Lally hoped, however, that Phonathon efforts that evening would allow the threshold to be met. She was not concerned that the goal had not been met, explaining that perhaps not all parents had seen the email and that it was not a hard deadline, but rather a goal.
Lally noted how one of the main goals of the campaign was student participation. The goal had been for 250 seniors to each give 5 dollars. In the end, 196 seniors donated to the class gift.
But student participation was not confined to donations alone. The senior class gift itself is a student-driven campaign, headed by the Senior Class Gift Committee. Consisting of over a dozen members from a range of departments and organizations across campus, the committee has met monthly and started planning the gift, specifically, in December. According to Lally, the committee chair, the committee was largely involved in marketing efforts and “spreading the word.” “It takes a village,” she commented.
Student participation was also a driving force behind the campaign’s promotional video. The video was produced by senior Katelyn Holtshouser. According to Lally, senior interviewees in the video answer the question of “who we’re paying it forward for.” Responses ranged from the Transitions Program, to buffalo chicken, to “future Anselmian nurses.”
A unique component of this year’s campaign was its online nature. This was the first time that a Senior Class Gift campaign has used “Give Campus,” the online fundraising platform used for Giving Tuesday and the Days of Giving. This innovation was made possible through the help of the individuals in the Annual Giving office. In previous years, fundraising relied on word of mouth. With this online platform, the campaign was able to connect and inform the entire senior class via regular emails. Additionally, seniors could visually track their progress toward the $1,250 goal. Lally said that seeing such progress toward the goal “lights a fire” and further encouraged senior participation.
Anticipating the eventual reaching of the threshold, the Crier asked Lally about what comes next. The scholarship will be awarded to either a current student or a future Anselmian. Lally was unsure the extent to which the committee could be involved in the selection of said student. The scholarship could potentially be a recurring scholarship if the Class of 2019 maintains its philanthropic activities post-graduation.
“No class has done this,” Lally remarked. She noted that the senior class will be informed when the threshold has been met.