Student Council unveiled Monday at the senior class meeting a new initiative by the Advancement Office that asks each senior to give $1, his name, cell phone number, and e-mail address in order to keep in touch with the school after graduation.
An idea developed by Vice President for Advancement John Rick and the Advancement Office, the program asks for a few simple things from the seniors in return for an incentive. If 100 percent of the senior class provides their name, e-mail address, cell number, and a dollar, the advancement staff will give the seniors donuts for breakfast for a week. The longer it takes the seniors to get to 100 percent, though, the fewer days of donuts they will receive. If they accomplish it in two days, they will receive three day’s worth of donuts.
By checking a box on the blue information card, seniors can also pledge to give incrementally over the next five years a total of fifteen dollars, an increase of one dollar each year.
According to Advancement Officer Ben DuMont, the program has a few goals. First, the advancement staff hopes to establish a habit among students of staying in touch and of giving back. Second, they are trying to get the seniors’ contact information. Finally, they hope to have the Class of 2011 be the first class to have 100 percent participation in giving.
“It’s not about the money; it’s about keeping in touch with the school. What we’re looking for—what you guys are looking for—is to be that first class with 100 percent,” said DuMont.
The contact information will be used in various ways, according to DuMont. The e-mail addresses will be used to contact seniors with announcements about reunions and class-related events, but also general SLUH-related announcements and publications, such as the 1818 Insider and SLUH News. The cell phone numbers will be given to fellow classmates at reunions as a means of keeping in touch.
“With younger alums it’s really hard to keep in touch because they are moving around, in college, at home, not at home, that kind of thing, so we found the easiest way to keep in touch is over e-mail,” said DuMont.
One of the Advancement Office’s goals for the 100 percent participation is to be able to use that number as leverage to potential donors, to say that last year’s graduating class gave 100 percent.
“We are trying to increase the overall alumni giving percentage participation,” said DuMont. “It really gives us leverage when we go out and try to cultivate those civic partnerships. So we can say, 100 percent of the graduating class gave this year, 100 percent of our parents, faculty, and Board of Trustees have given. That really gives us a lot of leverage in forging those partnerships.”
According to DuMont, funds from this drive will go towards financial aid, as all annual giving does.
Student Council has been aiding the Advancement Office in publicizing its goals. Student Body President Tim McCoy spoke at the senior class meeting this Monday about the program.
According to STUCO Secretary Phil Nahlik, the advancement staff approached STUCO for their help in rallying the seniors.
“It’s usually more effective if a classmate presents it to a classmate,” said DuMont.
DuMont also mentioned that similar parent and faculty initiatives have been successful. The faculty drive is currently around 95 percent and the parent drive is currently above 80 percent in participation.
Seniors’ reactions to the propositions have varied. While some viewed it negatively, seeing the Advancement Office as trying to bribe seniors, others were more welcoming to the idea of giving. Almost all, though, acknowledged the idea was a good one with a good chance of success.
The negative argument is generally directed towards how the program is run.
“It would be better for students and alumni to give their information and money because they wish to or that they feel they owe it to the school instead of being bribed with donuts,” said one senior. “I can understand where the idea of saying we got 100 percent donation from last year’s graduating class would influence big-wig donors.”
Senior Patrick Quinlan questioned the Advancement Office’s intentions a bit, but at the same time understood their reasoning.
“I don’t really think it’s about us as a class participating so much as it is about them being able to say that we participated,” said Quinlan. “I think it’s an excellent idea.”
Senior John Schaefer said that he thought it was a great idea, but questioned the Advancement Office’s method.
“I actually think it’s a good way to definitely give us the appearance of 100 percent participation,” said Schaefer, “but paying more for donuts than we’re actually giving is ridiculous.”
Many students had no reservations about the idea. Some said they’d do it for the donuts, while others simply thought it was a great idea.
“I think it’s a really good idea,” said senior Clayton Petras. “In a way they are asking you to give back a little bit and that’s what the dollar is.”