Senior gift committee hopes to boost participation

The first meeting for the senior class gift committee was held Tuesday night, and Kristen Lucius, development gift officer, said one of her goals this year is to include as many seniors as possible in the process.

“We want to encourage seniors to be part of the committee and bring a friend to the meeting,” Lucius said. “Last year there were complaints about not having everyone’s input in the decision.”

Last year’s senior gift committee voted to raise money for VISION scholarships, but not everyone agreed with the decision. The senior gift committee is open to everyone, but only the committee votes on what the class gift will be. In response to last year’s concerns, Lucius said she is open to the idea of having the entire senior class vote on a few gift options.

“We could have the entire class vote on the gift, if the committee says yes,” Lucius said. “That idea has been thrown around and it could help us get at the larger opinion of the class.”

Lucius said they are starting the committee meetings a month earlier this year in an effort to make December graduates feel included.

“One thing we didn’t do well last year was make sure the December grads felt like they had a chance to give,” she said. “By starting earlier, the seniors graduating in December will hopefully feel more a part of it.”

Last year’s senior class raised $35,000 for the VISION scholarships, including an $18,000 matching gift from the Old Guard, St. Thomas alumni who graduated before 1960, and an anonymous gift of $5,000, Lucius said. More than 65 percent of the senior class donated money for the senior class gift, a new participation record. Lucius said they hope to achieve similar results this year.

Only eight people showed up for the first meeting, which Lucius said was a smaller number than last year, although she couldn’t remember last year’s exact number. But she said she hopes many more people will come.

“The more, the merrier,” she said. “We’re going to reach out to the USG president and the senior class president and have them spread the word about this, too.”

Student reaction

Senior Chris Huber said he would prefer having the entire senior class vote on a few options instead of having the senior gift committee choose.

“I think everyone should vote because it would be more democratic, and I never even heard of this committee,” he said.

Senior Dumisani Thomsen agreed.

“I think the whole class should vote,” he said. “If I’m donating money to a cause, I want to choose where my money is going.”

In recent years, the senior gift committee has voted to fund some type of scholarship, and Huber said he likes that idea.

“Study abroad scholarships would be a good idea,” he said. “It’s something everyone should do.”

The next meeting of the senior class gift committee will be Tuesday, Nov. 2 at 9:15 p.m. in McNeely Hall.

Katie Broadwell can be reached at