By Amy Lieberman
Macalester’s advancement office is now working to solicit donations from faculty and staff members as an ongoing project within the “silent phase” of the college’s $150 million capital campaign, which will publicly launch next fall.The college is not seeking a specific dollar amount from faculty and staff, but is focusing on drawing a high participation rate, said Kate Abbott, assistant vice president of advancement operations.”We hope that people will give generously, but the important thing is to make sure we have campus people on board,” she said. “The idea is that every employee can make an equal impact.”In the meantime, the advancement office is planning on sponsoring “cookies and coffee events,” Abbot said, early next semester in each building across campus. The fundraising efforts will have a time limit, and will probably not extend past the two-month mark.Abbot said the main goal is to “educate people on the importance of strong community giving” as well as sponsoring events, such as video presentations. The Advancement Office will not directly solicit donations from individual employees. Abbott said high faculty and staff participation numbers might lead outside corporations and foundations to look more favorably upon the prospect of also contributing to the college. Attempting to draw internal community support before looking to outside sources for funding is a common tactic, she said, at different universities and colleges. Professor Emeritus Jack Rossmann, the appointed faculty liaison for the project, emphasized the importance of having the support of a high percentage of faculty and staff.”Alumni and friends of the college, some at least, will ask the question, well how are the faculty and staff feeling about the campaign?” he said. “And if we can say they are feeling wonderful about it, that is the way in which it becomes important in the larger campaign.”Along with Rossmann, the advancement office appointed Chaplain Lucy Forster-Smith and political science department coordinator Roxanne Fisher to serve as liaisons for salaried staff and hourly employees, respectively. They will work with the advancement office to foster communication between the administration and employees, while helping to plan the upcoming events. Forster-Smith said that she and her two other colleagues have met with the administrative staff several times to discuss planning, but that they have not set “concrete goals” of how much money they would like to raise, or of how many people they would like to see participate. She noted that it may be a challenge to encourage employees to not only give their “time and talent,” but to also give their money, though she remains optimistic.”I don’t think it will take a lot of convincing once people realize this is a moment in time in which we have very compelling reasons to give,” she said. “We have projects that are going to be visible, building projects as well as scholarship projects.”Rossmann also said that appealing to visiting and non-tenured faculty might be difficult, as they may have less incentive to invest in the college’s long-term future. But for reference librarian Jean Beccone, an alumna, the decision of whether to give the college a donation is not a difficult one.”I always do,” she said. “Many of us who work here really believe in this place, so we see donating as an important part of what we do.”Mathematics and computer science professor Danny Kaplan said that if the college “hit me up, I suspect I would [donate].”Kaplan said he has never seen the college pressure employees to donate money.The notion of employers asking their employees for money is a bit strange, he said.”It’s funny to get paid and then to give some of it back,” he said. “If they just lowered my salary, it might be more efficient.