Senior class members have thanked Old Eli in record-breaking amounts.
This year’s graduating class has raised nearly $13,000 for Yale from 70 percent of students — breaking fund-raising totals and participations rates for the annual senior class gift. The residential colleges competed to raise the most money, and Silliman and Ezra Stiles colleges came out on top.
The senior class gift program is only four years old, but it has been a success since its inception. Past fund-raising totals hovered around $10,000, but this year, participation rates skyrocketed. Last year, only 47 percent of the senior class donated money.
Seniors attribute the success of this year’s fund-raising drive to the skill of each residential college’s “captains,” those students chosen to solicit money from their peers. Every senior in Stiles and Silliman made a contribution to the gift, and most other colleges had participation rates of more than 70 percent.
But not all of the colleges were that generous. Only nine percent of Trumbull College seniors participated in the class gift. Trumbull captain Peter Kok ’01 cited several reasons for the low figure.
“We are a small class. A lot of us live off campus,” Kok said. “It’s a disparate group of people.”
Saybrook and Pierson colleges also had low participation rates — 34 and 38 percent respectively. College captains said Saybrook likely had low participation since its seniors are not living in the college because of renovations.
Prema Katari, coordinator of annual giving in the development office, said asking seniors to start contributing to Yale early — even before they graduate — is a great way idea.
“It gets seniors thinking about being alumni while they’re still on campus,” Katari said.
Two seniors, Kristi Greenberg and Stephen Amdur, led this year’s drive. Amdur said the development office approached the pair because they previously coordinated the junior class thank-a-thon, a program in which juniors call donors to thank them for their generosity.
Amdur said asking seniors to donate to Yale is a great idea because they are still benefiting from the school.
“People are still around. They can see the benefits they are receiving from the institution,” Amdur said. “If we start them off now, they will continue to support Yale.”
Greenberg and Amdur asked one or two seniors in every residential college to lead the drive within their college. The captains then chose “agents” to help them and the soliciting began. The seniors worked throughout the month of February to raise money.
“We had great people from all the colleges,” Amdur said.
The development office kicked off the drive with a formal dinner at the end of January for all of the college captains.
Silliman and Stiles seniors will now get to celebrate their victory at an April party currently being planned.
Silliman captain Jay Hallen ’01 said the party will likely be at the Omni and will include a formal dinner and an open bar. Hallen is a former Yale Daily News sports editor.