The Senior Campaign: Now Is the Time to Start a Tradition of Giving

Cornelia Beckett '14 Opinions Editor

Give. It’s a four-letter imperative for a four-year privilege, with all the weighted implications of that Smith buzzword.

Give. For four years, we’ve given all of our time, intellect, sanity, emotional labor and time, and moreover our tuition, loans, and job earnings.

Give. As seniors, we’ve also taken almost everything Smith has to offer, and let more opportunities slide. Now it’s our time to give back.

The Senior Campaign is an annual tradition of paying it forward, for seniors to give a gift of any size to pool together as a gift to the college on Ivy Day. You might bristle at the idea of giving another dime to Smith, but let me tell you why your gift as a senior is vital.

Full disclosure: I’ve worked for the Smith Phonathon since January 2011. In that time, I’ve raised thousands of dollars and spoken to hundreds of alumnae, parents and spouses about how Smith has impacted their life, not just in the immediacy of four years but as a lifelong legacy. I am not being paid to write this article. In fact, I contributed $15 to the fund in January 2014. That’s more than an hour’s worth of labor I donated to the college because I wanted to help give back in my own way.

Let’s break down why we need the senior class to give.

1. The KMac Incentive

President Kathleen McCarthy is so invested in our giving that she’s pledged to donated $2,014 to the Senior Campaign IF 333 of us, or 50% of the Senior Class, makes a gift of any size (Which makes our total 666. Whoa!). That’s free money, y’all. Give up a latte one day and throw five bucks our way. Don’t you want KMac to be proud?

2. Competition

Smith stays competitive with similar schools through the money, honey. Our donation buys anything from an extra semester with an awesome adjunct to a scholarship to a new piece of art for the museum. Philanthropic contributions to the college, like the Ford Foundation’s funding of Ford Hall, came about because an especially large percentage of alums gave. In this sense, 1,000 $5 donations are more meaningful than one person giving $5000. That’s not to say that when you strike it rich, you shouldn’t give a lot to Smith-- but the Senior Gift kicks off the tradition of many alums making Smith great, instead of a few fortunate major donors.

3. Rankings

Among the many reasons you might have chosen to come to Smith, its consistently excellent rankings probably didn’t hurt. Of the many numbers that go into crunching for the college rankings scheme, alumnae participation is one of them. By giving to the Senior Campaign, you’re boosting the rankings as a collective effort. Smith’s Senior Campaign currently lags severely behind comparable schools: a 38% participation rate compared to Oberlin’s 94%, Amherst’s 86% or Wellesley’s 73%. We can definitely boost that an extra 12%, and hopefully more, with your help.

4. Give Thanks, Give Back

Finally, giving to the Senior Campaign is an easy and powerful way to show you care about Smith. I gave because I care, and I hope you do, too. Giving is a graceful gesture that ensures the existence of the college for future generations, and reaffirms our commitment to women’s education.

Join us at www.smith.edu/giving/fund_seniors.phpfrom 11am-12:30pm in the CC Main Level: Friday 3/7 and Thursday 3/13, Lower Level: Wednesday 3/5 and Tuesday 3/11