Into one’s life a little rain will fall, or so they say. For college seniors, the problem is more often financial drought — it's a time when scholarship funds dry up and student loan repayments loom.
It's also what a group of graduating seniors had in mind when they established this year’s senior gift. It’s a scholarship that will be awarded to a member of the class of 2016, and potentially future senior class members, to help defray the cost of their final year.
The senior gift committee launched a fundraising campaign last Friday night at The Knot on Main Street, where 94 of the couple hundred or so members of the Class of 2015 who turned out made a gift to the scholarship fund.
Ninety-four down, 406 to go. The committee hopes to receive at least 500 gifts from seniors before May.
David Taylor '15, senior gift committee president, says they chose a scholarship in the name of the Class of 2015 in order to have the greatest impact and “so everyone who gives to the fund feels truly involved and connected.”
“Helping a fellow Wildcat get through school will show future classes that people who come to UNH become part of a great community that really wants to help each other out,” says Taylor. “Each and every one of us has had at least one great experience or memory or lasting friendship that has come out of our time here. Giving to the Class of 2015 Scholarship Fund helps make it possible for a fellow Wildcat who is in the home stretch to finish strong and continue to make those lasting memories and experiences.”
Taylor and other committee members worked with UNH Advancement to establish the fund. Since then, they’ve been pounding the pavement to solicit contributions from classmates. “We’re trying to show the community that the senior class gift is a really cool thing to be a part of and that giving back to an institution that has given us so much can be incredibly rewarding.”
Assistant director of annual giving for UNH Advancement Jackie Peterson, who is working with the senior gift committee, says she’s been impressed by members' creativity and commitment. “They didn’t start meeting until February, but they’ve really hit the ground running to promote the senior gift, educate their peers and plan events to help raise funds,” says Peterson. “Based on what they’ve achieved so far, I know this will be the most successful senior gift to date.”
A gift that keeps on giving?
While the senior gift tradition is not new, this is the first time a class has established a scholarship.
“The good thing about a scholarship fund is that it can have a lasting impact,” says Peterson. “As alumni, members of the class of 2015 can continue giving to their fund year after year and potentially award a scholarship to a senior class member every year. If they keep the fund active, there’s the potential to endow it someday, which would give the fund real longevity.”
While that remains to be seen, one thing is certain: Into the life of a member of the Class of 2016, a little cash will fall.
Seniors, save the date! Senior Slice Night is April 23 from 6 – 8 p.m. Nosh on pizza from several pie houses and cast your vote for the official Class of 2015 pizza. The event is free, but you’re encouraged to bring a monetary gift for the Class of 2015 Scholarship Fund. Watch @UNHSeniorGift or the senior gift website for location and more information.
Watch video: UNH Senior Gift