Seniors Connect by Giving Back to Mount Holyoke
Since 1979, members of Mount Holyoke's senior class have joined
in a century-old alumnae tradition of giving back to the College.
Through the Senior Gift Program, recent graduating classes have contributed
needed support in areas relating to cultural diversity on campus (1999),
the arts (1998), the Alumnae Fund, and the summer internship programs
(1997). The program has helped in the acquisition of digital imaging
equipment, a wheelchair lift, and, just last year, outdoor wooden
swings, which will be installed on campus this spring. With commencement
a mere fifteen weeks away, the 2001 program reports contributions
from an impressive 66 percent of the senior class. More than $2,000
has been raised.
It's going so well, says Grace Bianciardi '01,
who has taken on the responsibility of overseeing the Senior Gift
Program as cohead class agent with Sarah Croog '01. The two will
be leading the class of 2001 Alumnae Fund effort for the next five
years. The program is helping seniors feel connectedwith
one foot out the door and one foot still in. When we leave, we will
have this tie with the College. This is our chance to leave a lasting
impact, to show that the class of 2001 really cared about Mount Holyoke.
The fundraising team of seniors, recruited by Bianciardi and Croog,
has been working since September to make one-on-one contact with every
senior in order to raise funds for the College. It has been
an incredible effort, says Bridget M. Leung-Ingram, annual funds
and special gifts officer. We have a spirited and enthusiastic
group working to encourage students to make a gesture of thanks to
the College for the experiences and opportunities that have been made
available to women here.
A recent senior giving week, organized by the fundraising
team, resulted in a 12 percent jump in participation, says Bianciardi.
The team set up a booth in Blanchard Campus Center, draped it in green
Christmas bulbs, and provided cookies for contributors. Later in the
semester, tickets for the senior ball will offer students the option
of giving to the Senior Gift Program, and the fundraising team will
set up another booth in Blanchard during commencement week. The names
of those who made contributions will appear in a booklet to be made
available at commencement.
Bianciardi notes that the fundraising team stresses the importance
of making a gesture of any size, with emphasis given to participation
rather than dollar amount. Leung-Ingram points out that the program
has valuable lessons to teach about annualgiving. Many students are
unaware that tuition and fees at Mount Holyoke cover only about 50
percent of a student's education. While senior contributions
have helped defray the costs of needed services and equipment, the
program is also influential in boosting the College's national
profile. Alumnae view the Senior Gift as an indicator of students'
satisfaction with the College, and alumnae gift giving is also taken
into account by corporations and foundations when they are determining
Students have until the day of commencement to contribute to the
Senior Gift, and Bianciardi says she's optimistic about achieving
100 percent participation. We're already two-thirds of
the way there, she says. In the spring, seniors who have made
contributions will be asked to vote on how the funds are to be used.
They will have the option of identifying a particular area of support
or of choosing to add the Senior Gift to the general Alumnae Fund.
Our biggest goal, says Bianciardi, is to make seniors feel that they can connect with their class and alumnae, by showing their support through participation in the Senior Gift Program. It's an awesome way to remain a part of Mount Holyoke.