In its latest initiative against Stanford’s investment in fossil fuels, Fossil Free Stanford (FFS) is calling on the Board of Trustees to take their money out of fossil fuels – or risk losing the Class of 2016’s Senior Gift.
I’m giving again to Stanford now. Why, you ask? Because Stanford produces results; it transforms people and the world; and its students, faculty and staff inspire me. And I want to be part of that, because it makes me feel good and for me it is the right thing to do.
We should think about our charity as carefully as we reflect on our work life and as responsibly as we strive to manage our personal relationships. We can do better than The Stanford Fund wants us to. Helping the very needy is a more admirable legacy for a Stanford education.
I am a graduating senior and I did not make a “Senior Gift” contribution to The Stanford Fund. So why didn’t I give? Do I hold a grudge? Was it the satisfaction of dissent? Or are there legitimate reasons why I should withhold my donation? I started asking myself the very questions from those TSF emails: To whom should I be grateful for my Stanford experience and how should I express that gratitude? Unlike a debt, gratefulness isn’t beholden to any particular institution – whether it be a person, school or state. Therefore, for my Senior Gift, I donated to the CCSF scholarship fund. Its students deserve it more than we do.
As the 2013-2014 school year draws to a close, Stanford seniors are confronted with the question of what it means to be an alumnus. Central to this new identity is the question of how alumni will give back to their alma mater. Although some undergraduates may see donation requests as a nuisance, the efforts of a small team of students and staff have aimed to recast young alumni giving as a gesture of gratitude through the Senior Gift.
With two weeks left before graduation, the Class of 2012 remains slightly behind last year’s record participation in Senior Gift donations. Gift organizers expressed optimism, however, that seniors’ contribution to the student-driven initiative will spike in the final weeks.
Participation in the Senior Gift campaign reached a record high in percent participation this year, with 79 percent of the class contributing as of a week before the campaign ended. The previous record was 78 percent.
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.