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ND seniors debate possible gifts

Joseph McMahon | Friday, December 7, 2007

The Notre Dame Senior Class Gift committee is currently deciding how money raised by the Class of 2008 will help the University in the future. Each year, the committee, which consists of 10 seniors and one junior, raises money by asking for donations from the graduating class and its parents to help benefit causes such as financial aid and study abroad programs.”The Senior Class Gift is a fundraising opportunity for the senior class to leave a legacy,” said Moira Madden, the assistant director of Notre Dame’s Annual Fund, which coordinates the committee.This year, the committee is considering several causes to benefit with the money it raises. “The committee gets together and talks about what their class is interested in,” Madden said. “We talk about a number of things – a lot of times classes talk about financial aid and how important that is to students and how they want other people to have the same experiences they’ve had.”Among the causes being considered is the Environmental and Conservation Operations Fund, which would be used to help Notre Dame improve its environmental record. The fund would be overseen and utilized by the Energy and Environmental Issues committee, the Students for Environmental Action and the Energy Center Student Advisory Board.”A number of years ago, Notre Dame received a D-minus score for environmental issues on campus,” Madden said. “[Our environmental grade has] changed since then, but this fund would go to help all their initiatives and help with different projects. It is a fund that would be endowed so it’s something that would be around forever, and they would be able to use the interest from it to continue on in its mission.” The committee is also considering using the money it raises to provide financial aid to future students, possibly to those hoping to study abroad. “[Money raised might be] going to be financial aid, we just haven’t figured out any restrictions,” Madden said. “It’s possible that it would be for the abroad program, but right now it’s mostly a financial aid package.”The committee has also spoken to the Career Center about the possibility of creating an internship fund. However, the project is still in such a nascent stage that the specifics have yet to really be discussed, Madden said.The committee hopes this year’s Senior Class Gift is as successful as last year’s, when 30 percent of the graduating class participated and approximately $90,000 was raised. Madden said participating by donating to the committee – even if the donation is small – is important to the University and its mission. “We want students to get involved,” she said. “It’s important to be involved and to support any way that they can. It’s about participation, not a dollar amount.”The committee hopes to have decided upon a cause before winter break. It will send out letters around March inviting seniors to donate to the fund.