Class of 2010 Raises Funds for Senior Gift

This year’s Senior Gift will contribute to funds for sabbaticals, faculty salaries and classroom and lab supplies. Fundraising for the Senior Gift kicked off three weeks ago. Total class participation, as of February 16, is 29.3 percent. The 24 Student Alumni Representatives, or STARs, hope to break the previous participation rate of 93 percent, set by the Class of 2009, by utilizing team competitions and incentive programs. The STARs are responsible for spearheading this year’s Senior Gift fundraising. The class is broken down into five teams of about 50 students. Four to five STARs head each team. Sam Poliquin ’10, a Brown team captain, says that team captains are confident they can meet this goal of total participation. “Coordination has been strong,” he said. Emily Johnson ’10, an Orange team captain, said, “I think participation is lacking. Even though participation is much more important than how much you give, a lot of people said they weren’t going to contribute, because they haven’t felt they’ve gotten much out of the school.” The STARs recently met to vote on the Senior Gift. Options included donating to the renovation of the Addison Gallery of American Art, replacing the patio furniture outside the Den, and general contributions to the athletics program. The STARs have also worked with Deborah Murphy, Director of Alumni Affairs, to come up with other incentives to elicit donations. For example, students who donated early received Andover water bottles. All students who make a donation by February 27 will automatically enter a raffle drawing. Andover alumni have donated Boston Celtics floor seat tickets and Boston Red Sox tickets for the raffle. If a fundraising team reaches 100 percent participation, they are invited to a dinner at the Murphy residence. According to Courtney King ’10, a Green team captain, seniors have the option of donating to other aspects of the school, such as athletics, financial aid and the arts. However, the majority of donations go to the senior gift fund. King is a former Copy Editor for The Phillipian. Students also have the opportunity to give their gift in honor of a faculty member. Once the donations is made, the teacher receives a note that indicates that the donation was made in his or her honor. Although the minimum donation is $10, Murphy has been encouraging the team captains to urge students to donate greater sums, according to Andrew Fraser ’10, a Purple team captain. “Students should give if they want to show their appreciation to the school. I don’t feel that it should be almost mandatory like it has become,” said Fraser. “The team aspect will get more people to donate. If Mrs. Murphy just told people to donate at a senior meeting, it wouldn’t be as effective. There is a pressure to donate to support the rest of your team. A lot of STARs have not only been encouraging, but pretty much forcing donations,” he continued. The team captains have taken different approaches to their fundraising. Many have been sending weekly emails, while others have sent links for donations to their team members via Facebook Chat and donation forms when they see them in person. However, Fraser said that team captains are exercising moderation when encouraging team members to participate. If everyone starts harassing [their team members], it would get really annoying.” The divide in the amount of effort by team captains ranges. Fraser said many team captains have yet to even donate, and some Seniors send emails to them, urging them to donate to their own cause. According to Murphy, in past years, the Senior Gift has usually totaled between $7,000 and $11,000. Depending on participation, an alumni class may decide to match donations, which was done in 2009 and resulted in a total of $20,000. Seniors have the option of donating through cash given to a team captain, or on the fund’s website, which also tracks the team’s progress. Murphy said, “It’s hard for kids outside of the school to relate to, but the alumni feel very inspired to know that the seniors and current student are happy and not taking for granted what they have. They love to see the current student’s pride and love for the school.” “Even $10 means a lot. It is saying that Andover matters to you, and it begins to establish the senior class’s legacy,” she continued. The STARs group was established in 2009 to help seniors connect with alumni. Working with the Alumni Affairs Office, their responsibilities include planning the 100 Days Party, held 100 days before graduation. They also meet with visiting alumni to give perspective on the school.