The Class of 2012 senior gift is one that promises to keep on giving to the College's financial aid program. Current seniors and members of the development office have begun the process of creating a class gift that will have an immediate impact on the Class of 2016.
The gift will take the form of a new scholarship for financial aid. It is yet to be determined if a single student will benefit or if the funds will be divided among multiple students in the next academic year.
The objective of the project is to bolster the participation rate of the graduating class, which is asked to donate to the College upon graduation. The goal is to reach a 60 percent participation rate among members of the Class of 2012. Additionally, the project has received a challenge grant from two unnamed alumni donors. They have agreed to give, between the two of them, $50,000 over the course of five years should the 60 percent participation rate be met every year.
This means that if 60 percent or more of the senior class gives to the College upon graduation, $10,000 will be donated in the name of the Class of 2012 by the two aforementioned alumni to be used for financial aid. If the same condition is met for the following four years, $10,000 will be given each year.
"Statistics show that young alumni are most willing and passionate about giving to financial aid," said Christian Larochelle '12, one of the four directors of the Senior Class Leadership Project (SCLP). "We thought that where the numbers show that and where an increasing number of Bowdoin students receive some sort of financial aid or grant package from the College, this would be a cause that a large percentage of our class could relate to and be willing to give to."
The Senior Class Leadership Project is a new incarnation of YALP, or the Young Alumni Leadership Project. Dan Robinson, assistant director of annual giving and young alumni, said that SCLP's focus is to recruit and train "class agents," or those who will be responsible for soliciting money from their classmates, while they are still on campus.
"We wanted to focus the senior class leadership project on recruiting a large and diverse number of class agents to be volunteers who drive the success of this project," said Robinson. "Not only do we want class agents to solicit their classmates for support of the College, but also help us around the education piece about why the College needs them to participate in the Alumni Fund."
Currently, 33 class agents for the Class of 2012 are each responsible for soliciting around 15 of their fellow classmates to donate.
The objective of the project is not how much money can be raised, but rather focuses on galvanizing the senior class to donate. Last year's graduating class had a participation rate of 37 percent.
"One of the main thrusts of this whole effort is to educate Bowdoin seniors about why participation matters," said Robinson.
The College stresses participation for two main reasons. First, young alumni who give money in years shortly after graduation tend to have a steady, long-term role in donating. Second, alumni participation is used as a metric in college rankings evaluate how engaged and dedicated the alumni are to their alma maters. High participation rates also give big investors confidence and incentive to support the institution.
The biggest hurdle of this project, according to Robinson, will be educating the senior class on why their contribution of any amount is meaningful to the College.
"We're not looking to turn the Class of 2012 into a cash cow, but we just want the Class of 2012 to be supporting the College at a rate that reflects how much they appreciated their time here," said Robinson.