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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Graduating seniors create new gift-giving initiative

    Two graduating seniors looking to give something back to their college have devised a new Senior Class Gift initiative.

    Accounting senior Joshua Cohen and economics senior Lauren Liguore developed the idea for the first Eller College Senior Class Gift as part of a class project about half a year ago as a way for new alumni to stay connected with the college and to encourage alumni gift-giving.

    Jane Smith, senior director of development for the Eller College of Management, said that of the 56,000 living alumni, 8,000 are active donors, about 15 percent of the total living alumni. For another 12,000, the college has incorrect contact information.

    “”The idea is like a tip jar at a restaurant. Current students who start giving are seen by old alumni, causing them to want to give as well.””
    – Joshua Cohen
    accounting senior

    “”It is really low; the problem is there are not enough resources to stay in touch with people, and a lot of the students change jobs and move around a lot,”” Smith said.

    Cohen and Liguore are hoping to fix the problem.

    The Senior Class Gift is an annual pledge of $10 for five years that graduating seniors can sign up to donate, Cohen said. The money received by the college the first year will go toward a flexible gift that’s determined by a senior class vote.

    The senior class gift for this year is a professional changing room and student lockers, Liguore said.

    The other $40 per student collected in the next four years will be put into a scholarship fund, Cohen said.

    Cohen and Liguore started working on the project last spring by looking at other top business schools’ senior gift programs and modeling their program to accommodate the Eller College, Liguore said. Of the top 18 business schools, Eller and Purdue were the only colleges without a class gift pledge program.

    “”The Wharton business school has a 98 percent participation rate,”” Liguore said. “”This is something that needed to happen now, and we looked at the other schools and tailored our program to what’s best for Eller.””

    Since the program started last fall, the Senior Class Gift has received 60 pledges out of 400 graduating seniors, raising $3,000. Older alumni catching word of the new initiative have also started matching gifts and pledging more money, Smith said.

    Cohen expects the number of pledges to rise in the next two weeks as graduation approaches.

    “”The idea is like a tip jar at a restaurant,”” Cohen said. “”Current students who start giving are seen by old alumni, causing them to want to give as well.””

    Though increasing alumni giving was a key objective, Cohen and Liguore also wanted to create a better connection between new alumni and the school.

    Cohen said alumni would be reminded of their pledge and updated twice yearly on what the college is doing.

    “”It’s not about the money,”” Liguore said. “”But it’s about getting new alumni involved with the college.””

    Laura Prehoda, president of the Eller College Student Council, said response from students was favorable and that it will take a while before there is full support of the initiative.

    “”Next year we will have more outreach activities and kick off events,”” Prehoda said. “”Students need to become more aware of how contributions will help education and increase the value of their degree.””

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