The Class of 2010 Fund announced yesterday at Senior Convocation that it has raised a total of $32,157 so far this year, with donations from 66 percent of the graduating class.
The amount raised exceeds last year’s total by almost $10,000, and the participation rate is up 11 percent from the 2009 returns.
The percentage of participation, which has fluctuated in recent years from as high as 84 percent in 2006 to as low as 12 percent in 1994, is one of the factors that counts toward national university rankings, such as those published by U.S. News and World Report.
Benjamin Jarrett, assistant director of the Office of Advancement and adviser to the committee of approximately 12 students, attributed the jump to a number of factors.
“I’m not sure there’s one thing [to account for the increase],” Jarrett said. “Every class is different in their makeup and in class dynamics. We had a very good committee that worked very hard to make sure to accomplish our goals.”
Speaking on the increase in total amount raised, Jarrett cited the students’ ability to donate wherever on campus they choose. For the third year, students have had the option of donating to a specific aspect of campus in addition to the Georgetown Fund, which sponsors financial aid and scholarships for students. This freedom is something that some of Georgetown’s peer institutions do not offer to their donors.
“We want students and alumni to invest in Georgetown in the area that means the most to them, while recognizing that a gift in financial aid helps Georgetown as a whole,” Jarrett said.
According to Christine Pfeil (COL ’10), marketing chair of the Class of 2010 Fund, this ability to choose where their donations go gives students a sense of ownership of their gift.
Pfeil said that at first, she believes many students were wary of an intangible gift.
“However,” she added, “after explaining to students that instead of giving money for say, a bench, they can now designate their gift to any club, department or organization on campus that they wish, students are definitely on board with the idea. Everyone wants their gift to count, and this way, students have the opportunity to make sure their gift is utilized in a unique way.”
According to Jarrett, 65 percent of those who donated gave to the Georgetown Fund. Other popular recipients included academic departments, sports teams, the Center for Social Justice, mission and ministries, the individual undergraduate schools and the libraries.
According to Pfeil, one of the most dependable predictors of future philanthropy is an early commitment to donating. Regardless of the amount donated, students who give during their senior year are more likely to continuing giving back as alumni.
While fundraising is central to the Class of 2010 Fund, the program is part of a broader objective of bringing students together behind a common goal of giving back to the parts of Georgetown that impacted each student. Each donation represents a vote of confidence in Georgetown and someone’s personal connection to the university, Jarrett said.
“We hope that you would want future Hoyas to get the same benefit out of that area that you did,” Jarrett said.
In an effort to rally students around a collective aim of supporting and sustaining Georgetown in the long run, the group hosted events throughout the year. Events included a night of a cappella and s’mores in Dahlgren Quad, a postgame party near Verizon Center, a senior toast with University President John J. DeGioia and a Tombs night.
To raise awareness about the importance of alumni donations, the group also brought attention to February’s annual Tuition Day, which marks the day on which tuition money runs out. Following that day, alumni donations pay for university operations until the end of each school year.
For Pfeil, a psychology major who hopes to work as an industrial psychologist, giving back is about sustaining the university she and her classmates love.
“Just as those before us have done, we have a responsibility to ensure the continuation of this fantastic institution, and our time to start giving back is now,” she said.”