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Faculty Honors, for the Price of Four Lattes

Seniors asked to support profs, programs with a gift of $20.07

Donations to the Senior Gift Program have increased rapidly since it began in 2003.

College students have a lot of expenses — tuition, books, and room and board — and after four years of making payments, many feel that giving back to Boston University just isn’t an option. So instead of asking for big donations, the organizers of the Senior Gift Program are asking the Class of 2007 for an amount that’s both manageable and meaningful: $20.07.

“It’s the same amount people would pay for lunch and two beers at the BU Pub, or even four lattes at Starbucks,” says Rose Chau (CGS’05, CAS’07), a senior leadership intern at the College of General Studies. “That small amount of money goes a long way.”

The Senior Gift Program also gives members of the graduating class an opportunity to leave their mark on an area that matters to them. This year’s donation will go directly to the annual fund of the school or college of the student’s choice, and the gift can be given in honor of a professor or administrator who has mentored them. This year, honored faculty include Jeffrey Rubin, an associate professor of history in the College of Arts and Sciences, Sasha Norkin, an associate professor of journalism in the College of Communication, and Christophor Cavalieri, an assistant professor of television at COM.

Chau, who spoke about the class gifts at last week’s Senior Breakfast, emphasizes that the donations will support the kinds of “intellectual and social experiences” the seniors have had during their time at BU. “It’s not only helping out with scholarships, internship programs like the College of Communication’s L.A. and D.C. programs, and facility upkeep,” she says, “but it can also show the person you honored how much of an impact he or she had on you as a student.”

Crystal Bates (SMG’07), another representative for the Senior Gift Program, sees the donation as the beginning of her new status as an alumna. “Our education and stewardship does not end after we walk across Nickerson Field. As alumni, we have the opportunity to protect the value of the BU degree by giving back in any way that we can,” she says. “The class gift is a representation of our school spirit and helps to support the value of our education, because if BU goes up in the rankings, then we will receive the benefits as well in the perception that others have of our education when we are working in industry.”

Donations to the Senior Gift Program have increased rapidly since it was created in 2003. Contributions that year totaled $4,000, but were up to $26,000 by 2006. Approximately $60,000 will have been raised by the end of this year. Class Gift Program manager Rachel Laquidara (SED’04) says that although the main goal is participation, she thinks donations this year will surpass $20,000. As of May 7, approximately 650 people had contributed, more than half the target of 1,000 participants.

“I was a student myself at BU,” says Laquidara. “When I graduated I gave back to support the school, and I give back every year.”

Meghan Noé can be reached at mdorney@bu.edu.