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Class Gift Campaign supports education

| Friday, April 4, 2014

A Saint Mary’s education costs more than what many students pay to attend, since tuition and room and board cover only 80 percent of the College’s budget, while donors fund the remaining 20 percent each year, according to a Saint Mary’s press release. However, current Belles have an opportunity as well to take part in sponsoring their fellow students’ educations.

The Class Gift Campaign allows student leaders to educate their community about the importance of giving and encouraging donations, class of 2014 tri-chair representative Jillian Fata said.

“The … Campaign provides students with an opportunity to make a gift, which promises future Belles the same education and great experiences we [current students] have every day,” Fata said.

Director of annual giving Heather Frey said Tuition Free Day, which took place March 25, teaches the community about this “tuition gap” that is annually bridged by the generosity of alumnae, parents and friends of the College.

Frey said last year, more than 8,000 donors, including 73 percent of the class of 2014, contributed $10 million in gifts to the College to support every aspect of the student experience.

“[Tuition Free Day and the] Class Gift Campaign introduce students to the idea of giving back to Saint Mary’s, [so students can] see how their gifts can directly impact the College,” Frey said.

Throughout their four years at the College, classes work to raise money for their senior gift. This gift is then presented to president Carol Ann Mooney during senior week, as a token of gratitude for the graduating class’ time as students, Frey said.

“[The gift] shows their commitment to passion on the blessing of a Saint Mary’s education,” Frey said.

Fata said each senior class votes on what this special gift will be. In recent years, gifts have gone to building funds, including renovations or additions to Spes Unica Hall and Angela Athletic Facility, various student scholarships and the restoration of the portrait of Sister Madeleva Wolff in the basement of Madeleva Hall.

“Making a gift shows how much [students] love Saint Mary’s and that we want others to experience the same opportunities we have had here,” Fata said. “Gifts allow the College to continue changing the lives of everyone that steps onto campus.

“Studies show that students who make a gift are twice as likely to donate [to the College] after graduation, which means participating now has positive long-term effects.”

Fata said donating also increases the value of a student’s degree.

“Organizations like U.S. News & World Report use data from alumnae donations when calculating national collegiate rankings,” Fata said. “So, the more alumnae that give, the higher our ranking and the more marketable we are after graduation.”

Fata said she is hopeful the end-of-the-year push will be successful. The class with the highest participation percentage by April 24 is rewarded each year with a “Party on the Island” in front of Haggar Parlor, which Fata said always draws contributions.

“Students can get involved with Class Gift Campaign by coming to any of our tabling events, contacting a student representative or visiting the annual fund office in the basement of Madeleva [Hall],” Fata said. “Participation is the most important part of the campaign; it’s not about giving a ridiculous amount of money, for we even accept gifts of just one dollar.”

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About Kelly Konya

Kelly Konya is an English major bred on Catcher in the Rye and Roman cornettos.

Contact Kelly