Senior gift to support sustainability

By Anna Waugh

he class of 2008’s senior gift will go toward funding sustainability initiatives on the Macalester campus. Suzanne Hansen, the newly hired sustainability manager, will play a key role over the next year in deciding specifically where the money will go.

“We would like to have the widest latitude so we can best direct the funds to the College’s needs in the sustainability area,” Hansen said. “[However] at this point there is no specific budget plan.”

Planning for the gift began last October when Paul Odegaard ’04, the associate director of the annual fund, formed the Senior Class Gift Committee, a group of ten seniors assigned to make the final decision on what the gift would fund.
The committee, chaired by Jeff Jay ’08 and Emily Seddon ’08, distributed a survey to the ’08 class during the fall semester to gauge what type of gift the class would want.

The results of the survey suggested that the class would like to leave their legacy to the Clean Energy Revolving Fund. However CERF’s provisions do not allow it to accept additional funding so the committee agreed that the gift should be directed towards general campus sustainability needs and environmental funding, Odegaard said.

The senior class gift is a small part of the overall donations that Macalester receives each year. However, Odegaard said, it plays an important role for teaching the importance of philanthropy.
“The senior class gift is a legacy tradition to say thank you for your Macalester experience realized through a year-long campaign,” Odegaard said.
The goal for this year’s gift is to raise $38,000 with a participation rate of 50 percent. This is seven percent more than last year’s record participation rate of 43 percent. The majority of the money for class gifts often comes not from students but from parents, faculty and staff, Odegaard said.

In past years, class gifts have been applied toward projects such as endowed scholarships and the renovation of the Fine Arts Building. This year, the more open-ended gift will allow the college a little more leeway to decide where it can be used best.
Money for the gift will be collected throughout the spring semester with the final campaign wrapping up around graduation. The Senior Class Gift Committee will meet every other week to discuss fundraising, Seddon said.

Final allocation of the gift is still awaiting approval by the administration.