March 9, 2007

Senior Class Campaign Donations Top 18%

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After an eventful day of meetings and a dinner at the newly constructed Noyes Community Center, members of Cornell University’s Board of Trustees gathered in the Park Atrium of the Hotel School’s Beck Center to meet with senior class leaders and to take part in a celebration of Senior Class Campaign’s progress. Alvin Liu ’07, SCC’s vice president of publicity, said that yesterday evening’s reception was organized in order to thank those seniors who have already contributed to the campaign and to give students a chance to interact with the trustees.

According to Liu, the Senior Class Campaign, which this year is called “Give Strong 2007,” strives to increase awareness of the importance of annual fund giving by the members of the graduating class. Among other things, the contributions allow the senior class to sponsor its own scholarship, fund class reunions, provide faculty support and help the University meet its emerging needs.

As of yesterday evening, Give Strong 2007 had reached 18.05 percent participation level, marking a sizable increase from 10.5 percent announced at the SCC kick-off event on Feb. 6. In comparison, last year’s campaign was at 10.9 percent on March 8.

More than 450 seniors have already contributed at least $20, placing Give Strong 2007 half way to its target — 1,000 participants. When this goal is reached, Martha Coultrap ’71, a member of the Board of Trustees, will endow a $25,000 Class of 2007 scholarship, which will be awarded to a new student next year.

“The Class of 2007 scholarship will be critically important for students for years to come and I think we all need to remember that this is a continuous gift that a number of students are going to be beneficiaries of,” Coultrap said.

Largely responsible for the rapid increase in participation are the two phone-a-thons, which were organized by Give Strong 2007 and had volunteers from the senior class calling up their peers, telling them to contribute to the campaign, according to Neala Gollomp ’07, SCC vice president of publicity.

The first phone-a-thon, which was conducted on Feb. 25, resulted in a phenomenal 3 percent increase in participation rate, Gollomp said.

“This was the best phone-a-thon we’ve done,” Gollomp said Wednesday.
The second phone promotion that preceded yesterday’s Trustee Social was also very effective. In addition to student volunteers, SCC officers got two trustees to help out. As a result, the participation level once again increased by nearly 3 percent in just a couple of hours. With that, there are 28 phone-a-thons remaining until the end of the semester. SCC’s officers are confident that the 1,000 participants target will be met.

William Liu ’07 was one of students who was called and had no reservations about making a donation. He stressed the importance of SCC in encouraging seniors to contribute back to the University.

“It’s great,” he said. “I really love Cornell and whatever I can give [back to it], I’ll give.”

Future phone-a-thons will have organized teams of seniors trying to beat the 3 percent record. According to Gollomp, future events are expected to increase participation levels by roughly 1 percent at a time, but the success of the first two phone-a-thons suggests that this prediction may be an underestimation.

Trustees were just as enthusiastic as the students about the concept of Senior Class Campaign and about the strength of Give Strong 2007.

“[The SCC] is off to an amazing beginning,” said Carolyn Neuman ’64.

“The concept is wonderful,” commented Sam Fleming ’63. “Simply stated it gets Cornell Reds involved at a very early stage.”

Gollomp further emphasized that there is a number of seniors who have not contributed yet, but who promise to do so once they have received signing bonuses from their new jobs.

“There are a lot of people who will give by graduation,” she said.

For those who would like to keep track of Senior Class Campaign’s activities and get updates on participation levels, Give Strong 2007 has organized a weekly show — called “Senior Five” — which airs on Slope Radio.

Additionally, student leaders, officers of Give Strong 2007 and members of the graduating class will be holding a social networking event next week.