By Ivy Nguyen
With one month left before graduation, the class of 2011 has reached a 10-year record of participation in Senior Gift donations and is on track to beat Stanford’s all-time participation record. The Senior Gift is a student-driven initiative intended to raise money to fund financial aid and other undergraduate programs.
Currently, the campaign counts nearly 60 percent participation and aims to break the all-time record of 78 percent.
“This is exceptional progress… It’s difficult to do anything new or unprecedented at Stanford, and this is a way that Stanford’s class of 2011 can leave as a record-breaking class,” wrote Alli Brian, assistant director of student and young alumni development, in an email to The Daily.
“Participating in Senior Gift is a way for seniors to send a message that Stanford was an important time in their lives and an opportunity to leave something behind as they get ready to leave,” Brian said in an interview.
Because the campaign aims to reach maximum participation, there is no minimum donation required. This year’s campaign is asking seniors donate $20.11, an amount intended to commemorate their graduation year. The money raised will be matched by donations from Peter Bing ’55 and the Atwell Match, a program that matches donations from recent graduates and current students. The Parents’ Advisory Board also pledged to donate $5,000 for every 10 percent of student participation.
More than 75 percent of the money raised will be spent on need-based financial aid for undergraduate students, while the remaining funds will finance programs such as Sophomore College and undergraduate research.
Historically, Stanford has lagged behind peer institutions such as Harvard, Princeton and Yale, where senior gift participation rates range from 80 to 99 percent. In recent years, however, the University has seen resurgence in Senior Gift participation.
“Stanford once had a very strong Senior Gift program, culminating with the class of 2000, who set the all-time record of 78 percent class participation,” Brian said. “In the years after, senior participation fell dramatically…but recently, classes have re-engaged with this campaign.”
In the remaining weeks before graduation, the 80-student team will continue to host a number of events to raise awareness about the campaign, including a free wine tasting planned for this Friday.
“Our team this year is confident that Stanford seniors have valued and appreciated their Stanford experience just as much, if not more, than seniors at other universities, and one way to show this is through Senior Gift participation,” Brian said.