Although it is only October, graduation for the class of 2015 is rapidly approaching. While the senior class’ educational experience at Boston College is coming to a close, the their roles as Eagles are far from over. Indeed, their duty as alumni will just begin, and the Senior Gift Committee is determined to assist the seniors in their transition from students to graduates.
For years, the Senior Gift Committee has been developing and expanding its role on the BC campus, not only introducing seniors to the idea of donating to their school, but also helping the senior class to make a significant impact on BC. The Senior Gift Committee is run through Annual Giving in the office of University Advancement. The Alumni Center then brings on current students to form the Committee.
Headed this year by co-chairs Megan Dunn, A&S ’15, and Nick Solazzo, CSOM ’15, the committee has 50 members, five of whom compose the e-board, and the rest are divided between the three sub-committees for fundraising, marketing, and event coordination.
“The point of it is to get you in the habit of giving to the school,” Dunn said.
Solazzo agreed, “As seniors, we’re going to graduate and be alumni soon,” he said. “They want to get us thinking to give back. As alumni, a big part of BC is giving back and staying involved.”
Although the Senior Gift Committee has long been in existence, the structure has undergone a recent change.
“The Senior Class Gift, as it is currently structured, came into play in 2013 during the Sesquicentennial class of graduates,” said Colleen Claflin, assistant director of Annual Giving, in an email. “Since 2013, Senior Gift has functioned in the form of a challenge, with a University trustee—for the past three years it has been Drake Behrakis—challenging the class to hit their participation goal.”
“Essentially, for the challenge, we pick a goal for participation,” Dunn said. “We don’t have an amount of money that we have to raise, it’s really about the amount of students getting involved. You can give anywhere from a dollar to however much you want to give.” Last year, the Committee surpassed its goal of 70 percent participation, and ended up raising over $32,000 dollars.
The goal for this year’s participation is 73 percent of the senior class, or 1,655 participants. The reward for reaching this goal percentage is $25,000 in Legacy Grant funding.
“This reward is achieved through a series of milestones that mark 20 percent increments towards the participation goal,” Claflin said. “For each 20 percent increment, the class secures $5,000 of the $25,000 total.”
So far, the effect of the Senior Gift Committee on Boston College has been significant and lasting. The University Trustees’ funding, namely that provided by Drake Behrakis, allows the Committee to supply Legacy Grants every semester. Students who choose to apply for the grants are eligible to receive up to $2,500 to fund a new program, or one already in existence.
Not only are the Legacy Grants beneficial to the school, but they benefit the soon-to-be alumni as well.
“Now, not only can seniors give back to the program or area of the University that impacted their experience here the most, but in doing so their participation helps to impact the undergraduate experiences for friends and classmates, as well,” Claflin said.
Beyond the satisfaction of making contributions to the welfare of BC, the seniors’ decisions to donate also provide them with many perks.
“Our role as a whole organization is to try to get as much involvement out of the senior class as we can through events,” Solazzo said. “If you make your donation beforehand, you can go to … every event throughout the year.”
On Thursday, Oct. 2, the Senior Gift Committee held its kickoff, hosting a seniors-only grilled cheese event. Although the members are still processing gifts, at the end of the kickoff, the Committee received 296 donations.
Although the Committee is still planning future events to assist in fundraising and spreading awareness, there are a few events that are only ensured by the reaching of its 73 percent participation goal.
These events include the senior class day party, put on by University Advancement on the lawn of Brighton Campus, as well as the Senior Toast held on Bapst Lawn.
The Committee is determined to reach its goal and willing to go all out in order to get attention and donations from the seniors. Last year, the Committee held Mod500, a tricycle race around the Mods, to maximize attention from the senior class.
“We have a really good team,” Solazzo said. “Everyone on the committee is very excited and very creative, so we are definitely going to put on a lot of fun events for the senior class. If people give, they can attend every single one, so that’s definitely the perk to giving.”
If seniors are interested in donating, the committee is easy to find. “Every Monday through Friday, we are next to the Hillside Cafe urging people to donate,” Dunn said. “Also, every person who donates gets a free t-shirt.”
The Senior Gift Committee is prepared and excited to help the graduating class of 2015 leave a lasting mark on the BC community, as well as assist in developing long-lasting charitable habits that make future active and engaged alumni.
Featured Image by Emily Fahey / Heights Editor