After three weeks of high-energy participation challenges and events, the Senior Class Gift campaign concluded Wednesday with contributions from 96.1 percent of the class of 2013.
The campaign participation rate fell nearly 1.5 percentage points from last year’s record-breaking 97.5 percent, and the total raised over the period — $29,693.81 — declined by around $2,000. The 2013 budget for the activities and events sponsored by the Senior Class Gift committee declined by 30 percent, while the campaign saw several changes to guidelines and programming that included one fewer participation event than last year. This year’s campaign shifted its goals to reducing the pressure on “just breaking participation records,” said Olivia Leitner ’13, one of the four campaign co-coordinators.
“I think these campaign regulations were designed to have students take more ownership over their [giving],” campaign co-coordinator Omar Nije ’13, said. “The Senior Class Gift is all about education, so I think we wanted our class to reflect about why they were making a donation, and structuring the guidelines differently helps to achieve that goal.”
Jocelyn Polce, assistant director of the Yale Alumni Fund, and Jocelyn Kane, director of Yale College Annual Giving, declined to comment on the size of the Senior Class Gift’s budget, which is provided by the Association of Yale Alumni and funds classwide participation events, training for the 170 volunteers and free apparel. During the annual campaigns, events have driven increases in participation levels over the fundraising period, Polce said.
Besides the opening and closing party, the Class of 2013 Senior Class Gift hosted a happy hour event at Rudy’s in the penultimate week of the campaign. The class of 2012 had two events other than the opening and closing parties — one during the first week and another during the third.
The class of 2013 launched the campaign with a participation rate of 28.5 percent — higher than last year’s first-day participation level — but two weeks later, the class of 2012 had a 69.1 percent participation rate after two events while the class of 2013 remained at 60 percent after its first event.
“I generally think [the events] did have an impact on participation,” said Courtney Fukuda ’12, a co-chair of the class of 2012 campaign. “If you’re going to a college event with 100 other people, and you’re drinking the wine and cheese that the college supported, then I think you would be more motivated to contribute.”
Other changes to this year’s Senior Class Gift campaign included increasing the minimum contribution from $1 to $5 and prohibiting contributions made from students’ bursar accounts.
Despite the decrease from previous years, the Senior Class Gift campaign secured around $250,000 from participation incentives, which are commitments from alumni and parents to donate funds if certain participation levels are achieved.
Patrick Ouziel ’13 said his primary incentive for contributing was to help attain the 95 percent participation challenge, which provides $100,000 in scholarship funding for the incoming freshman class.
“I didn’t really feel like Yale deserved any more of my money, but contributing to reach 95 percent in a way made me feel it wasn’t just for Yale, but was for some student in the class of 2017,” he said.
A total of 1,226 seniors contributed to this year’s Senior Class Gift fund.
Correction: Feb. 22
A previous version of this article misquoted Omar Nije ’13 as saying he thinks the new guidelines “were designed to have students take more leadership over their [giving],” when in fact he said “take more ownership over their [giving].”