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Graduate telethon to raise money from alumni begins

By Lakshmana Rao

Graduate students from various departments are calling graduate alumni as part of a telethon to raise scholarship funds. The graduate alumni telethons are organized annually by the Alumni Fund in conjunction with the academic departments.

"The departmental telethon is an effective way of raising scholarship funds" directly for a department, said Lore A. Greene, coordinator of the Graduate Alumni Fund. "The telethon is a follow-up to a letter that is sent earlier by the departmental heads to each alumnus," she added.

Greene said that in a typical telethon session, an average of 20 volunteers spend about three hours soliciting funds through telephone calls from graduate alumni within United States and Canada. A telethon session includes an initial training period in which each caller is given a briefing of the telethon operations.

Last year, the alumni office organized a separate telethon to solicit funds for graduate housing at MIT. That telethon has been discontinued because very few callers showed up last year, Green said.

The Alumni Fund has collected about $15.1 million from 28,100 alumni during the fiscal year ending in June 1991. Of this, only

$2.1 million was collected from graduate alumni, while $11.4 million was collected from undergraduate alumni. According to Joseph S. Collins, managing director of alumni activities, this difference could be due to the fact that "the undergraduates have a holistic experience with the Institute and hence feel closer to it."

Graduate students currently constitute 43 percent of the Institute's alumni. Collins said that over the past 15 years the per(Continued from page 1)

centage of graduate alumni has been increasing and that recent years have brought a "growing younger graduate population." With the number of graduate students increasing on campus, Collin expects that this trend will continue in the future.

A major portion of the money contributed by alumni is given for unrestricted use (see box). Funds donated for unrestricted use are allocated according to the discretion of the president of MIT. Most unrestricted funds are used for student financial aid, Collins explained.

Funds solicited for

classroom renovations

The MIT Alumni Fund board has launched a special program called Project 2000 to collect funds to renovate and modernize every classroom at MIT. Under this scheme, any person making a gift of $500 or more will be given a piece of the original steps leading up to 77 Massachusetts Avenue.

The steps were removed in 1972, and are currently in storage, said Collins.

"Project 2000 has so far been received very well by our alumni," said Collins. "We have sent about 6000 letters and have already received a number of phone calls promising their pledges for the project," he added.

"The key to successful fundraising is to involve the alumni in the whole process," said Collins. "Currently we have about 2000 alumni volunteers who help us raise funds each year. There are also 44 alumni clubs around the country and 25 abroad which organize events throughout the year and help the Institute in other ways," he added.