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Event highlights need for alumni donations

By Reis Thebault
On February 18, 2013

A Day Without Donors and the Senior Class Gift campaign kicked off, celebrating donors, emphasizing their impact on Miami and encouraging graduating students to follow in donors' footsteps.

A Day Without Donors, which actually occurs for ten days, from Feb. 14 to 23, is an effort by Miami's Office of Advancement, Senior Class Gift Committee and Miami University Student Foundation (MUSF) to thank donors for contributions and shed light on their widespread influence in an effort to encourage more students to give.

Caroline McClellan, assistant director of development and annual giving, accentuated the importance of private donations.

"We certainly wouldn't have beautiful green spaces, we certainly wouldn't have the Farmer School of Business or the new Armstrong Student Center, the inside of the Shriver Student Center would not be nearly as nice, we probably would have half as many professors and we certainly wouldn't be third in undergraduate teaching," McClellan said. Donations affect Miami in a plethora of unrecognized ways, according to McClellan.

"I think every part of this university, in some way, is touched by private donations," McClellan said. "The cost of running a university is just more than people realize."

One reason these donations are so important is Miami's tuition only covers the cost of attendance until around this time of the year, leaving the remainder of the semester to be covered by state appropriated funds and private donations.

According to the Miami University Foundation website, over 2,900 students benefitted from scholarships this year, scholarships that were funded by the $39 million dollars that donors pledged in 2012.

A Day Without Donors is timed to go hand-in-hand with the kickoff of the Senior Class Gift campaign, which starts Feb. 19 and carries on three weeks after graduation.

Funds raised for Senior Class Gift will go to room 2013 in the new Armstrong Student Center, an actual room in the new student center which happened to be one of the last available for dedication. McClellan said the timing was just right.

The remainder of funds will go to the 2013 Class Scholarship. The Senior Class Gift committee will approach fundraising from several fronts.

According to seniors and co-presidents of Senior Class Gift, Erin Helfrich and Kathy Schauer, the committee will be holding multiple events, the largest taking place at Grad Fest, to make themselves available to seniors who will potentially give. Other methods include peer-to-peer solicitation and phoning from TeleHawks in which students call alumni, parents and friends for fundraising support.

Helfrich is adamant--giving to Senior Class Gift is an essential part of making the transition from student to alumnus.

"We love Miami, and I don't know many people that don't love their four years at Miami," Helfrich said. "And with how much Miami gives to you, the last thing you should really do before you leave Miami is give back. It is like giving back to Miami for all they've given to you."

McClellan, Schauer and Helfrich's hope is that these two events will raise awareness of the importance of private donations and encourage future alumni to give back to Miami.

"You are part of our Miami Alumni family for the rest of your life and we hope that you'll stay engaged, not only giving back monetarily, but your time and your talents and this is just the first way to get engaged," McClellan said.

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