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Class of 1995 Establishes UROP Projects Scholarship as Class Gift

By Venkatesh Satish
Associate News Editor

As this year's senior gift, the Class of 1995 will establish a scholarship to fund Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program projects.

The Senior Gift Committee announced the gift earlier this month. Committee Chair Jahnavi Swamy '95 said that committee members "felt they were giving MIT a gift that it needs."

The committee's initial plan is to establish a fund of approximately $20,000, invest the money, and use the interest to sponsor UROP projects, Swamy said. UROP, which recently celebrated its 25th anniversary, is facing a difficult financial situation amid a restructuring of government overhead regulations that took effect last July.

Assessing the number of UROP projects that will be funded by the gift is difficult since the money must still be raised and the exact details of the fund have not yet been addressed, Swamy said. A UROP student costs about $1,000 a term, she said.

Money for the UROP scholarship will be raised over the next five years. "Our overall goal is to raise $50,000 and have 50 percent participation with the senior gift program," Swamy said.

One of the reasons why the UROP scholarship was chosen is it will be easier to maintain than physical structures, such as The Source information booth, gift of the Class of 1994, she said. Such structures may deteriorate over time and would require additional funding for maintenance, she added.

Another reason for selecting the UROP scholarship is that the gift idea "should appeal to a lot of seniors," Swamy said. This class gift does appeal to many "since a lot of people participated in UROP," she said.

"I'm sure UROP has helped students with their future, in exploring different areas of interest and providing opportunities," Swamy said.

Other gift ideas included a financial aid scholarship, a community service scholarship, and a gift of unrestricted funds that the Institute could use however it wanted, Swamy said. In the end, "UROP came out as a clear winner."

Committee needs class agents

Currently, the committee is looking for seniors interested in being class agents, Swamy said. These students help solicit other seniors to make pledges for donations over the next five years, she said.

Those interested in acting as class agents should attend the gift premiere, which will be held next Monday in the Bush Room (10-105), Swamy said.

"It's important to start giving back to MIT because we've gotten so much from it," Swamy said. "We should give to increase what it has to offer to future students."

The Senior Gift Committee expects to raise $6,000 for the scholarship this year, though most senior classes raise approximately $4,000 for their gift in the first year, Swamy said. One reason for the higher goal is that the Class of 1970, celebrating its 25th reunion this year, will match any senior who donates more than $19.95, she said.

In coming up with the idea, Swamy discussed ideas with advisers Barbara A. Luby, coordinator of parent and student programs for the Alumni Association, and Maryglenn Vincens, program director of alumni activities. The Senior Gift Committee considered each of the proposals and subsequently voted, Swamy said.

Committee members include Lisa D. Bailey '95, Bradley E. Brewer '95, Mindy I. E. Davis '95, Roderick B. Diaz '95, Danielle D. Janitch '95, Benjamin R. Jordan '95, Celika M. Langford '95, Gwendolyn K. Lee '95, Heather M. Lee '95, and Tammy L. Stoops '95.