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Class of 2007 Opens Senior Gift Campaign

By Apoorva Murarka
STAFF REPORTER

The Class of 2007 Senior Gift, an international study abroad fund, was presented yesterday evening at the Senior Gift Kickoff, which was held in the fall for the first time. The fund will cover any cost incidental to studying abroad such as travel expenses, accommodations, and food. Sophomores, juniors and seniors will be eligible for this fund.

“It was not very difficult reaching a decision on this gift, as it is in tune with the Institute goals and has an international perspective to it,” said Sharlina Hussain ’07, the solicitation coordinator for the Senior Gift.

“It highlights the importance of philanthropy,” said Dwight M. Chambers ’07, chairman of the Senior Gift Committee.

According to Chambers, a committee of diverse student groups was formed to decide on the gift. Senior Gift is a giving program involving seniors and it is supported by the MIT Alumni Association.

“We looked at the Institute priorities that are not being met and thought about a particular legacy we would like to be our own, and by answering these questions we arrived at a gift,” Chambers said.

Earlier this year, seniors were polled in a survey asking for ideas. The survey focused on the types of gift the senior class would like to give and not on a particular gift.

“It is difficult to make coherent sense of a survey in which particular gift options are included,” Chambers said.

“Make Your Mark” is this year’s Senior Gift Campaign theme.

“We’ve been here for four years and MIT has certainly changed you. What are you going to do to change MIT?,” commented Chambers, describing this year’s theme.

Senior Gift giving usually begins in the spring. This year’s early kickoff date was planned primarily to raise the participation level.

“Really, this makes it easier on the gift itself … the less hectic the solicitation schedule is, the easier it is to raise the funds,” said Chambers.

The Senior Gift Campaign is aiming for a participation level of 55 percent of the senior class, 4 percent above the Class of 2006 participation level. According to Chambers, it is not necessary to donate to the chosen class gift. Seniors have the option of donating to any student group, the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, Institute Unrestricted Funds, as well as many other designations. The participation level will be tabulated regardless of the designation.

Seniors who donate $50 or more will become members of the “5.0 Club” and their names will be printed in the MIT Annual Report, along with all other Institute donors,” Chambers said. Seniors will also receive a free T-shirt upon donating.

“$50 is certainly an extraordinary gift,” Chambers added.

Senior Gift has an alumnus challenger every year to encourage seniors to participate. This year’s challenger is Martin Tang GM ’72, president of the Alumni Association. Tang will donate $5,000 for every increase of 10 percent in the senior class participation level above 25 percent. Unfortunately, Tang lives in Hong Kong and was unable to attend the kickoff.

The Senior Gift Campaign is being marketed via a “comprehensive advertising effort,” Chambers said. Posters have been placed all around campus and postcards were sent to every senior to encourage participation in the campaign. However, word of mouth is the most important and effective method for spreading awareness about the Gift among seniors, according to Chambers.

The Senior Gift Committee worked with a budget of a few thousand dollars which was provided by the MIT Alumni Association, Chambers said.

Seniors can donate until the end of the school year at the Senior Gift Web site or to any Senior Gift Committee member. Booths will also be set up in Lobby 10 later in the term and during the spring semester. More information can be found at http://web.mit.edu/
senior-gift
.