This year’s senior gift will be given as a scholarship to fellow classmate Erika Amfahr. Due to injuries sustained in a car accident last year, Amfahr has been unable to attend school since January 2007. The scholarship will be given to Amfahr as part of her financial aid package if she returns next fall or spring.
Tricia Martin, assistant director of alumni relations and annual giving, contacted a group of seniors before semester break and asked them to serve on the Senior Gift Committee. Composed of 11 seniors, the group met twice to discuss options for a senior gift.
According to Martin, the general consensus among the group was to donate the senior gift as a scholarship to Amfahr.
While previous senior gifts include the patio furniture outside the BSC, the furniture in Dunn Library and the benches around campus, this is the first nonphysical gift Martin can recall.
“I was really impressed with the seniors because they could have chosen something else,” Martin said. “They wanted to do something a little different that meant more to their class.”
Senior committee member Liz Tjaden said the group wanted an alternative to just donating a physical gift as previous classes had done.
“We wanted to go another route,” Tjaden said. “We wanted to help somebody either now or in the future.”
Rather than donating a physical gift, Tjaden feels the scholarship makes a more significant impact on campus.
“We’re helping somebody which is a lot better than putting our name on a tree,” Tjaden said. “We’re making a difference in someone else’s life.”
Senior Allison Mohlke is happy with the decision because it shows that the seniors haven’t stopped remembering Amfahr.
“I’m sure it makes her feel like we haven’t forgotten her, because we haven’t,” Mohlke said.
Kathy Amfahr, Erika’s mom, was contacted by Martin shortly after the scholarship’s approval by the Advancement and Financial Aid Offices.
“We thought it was wonderful they [seniors] still think of Erika,” Kathy Amfahr said. “We are very appreciative and thankful.”
Fundraising for the scholarship began Monday and will end April 4. Seniors will receive emails asking for donations or pledges. Postcards in campus mailboxes will also advertise the project.
Finally, a Facebook group offering the senior class to join the effort will be created. Information on the page will also include instructions on how to donate or pledge. Students will be updated on the status of the amount donated and student involvement every Friday during the campaign.
Martin highlights the benefits of pledging.
“Your donation is not due until a year after the pledge,” Martin said. “You have a year to pay it off, and it can be paid in installments.”
Up to $5,000 will be allocated to the scholarship through the fund and combined with Amfahr’s financial aid. As with all senior gift donations or pledges, the money goes into the Simpson Fund and is distributed to the senior gift.
“The Simpson Fund is designed to provide financial assistance to students and this would be sum rolled into her package all ready that she receives,” Martin said.
If Amfahr is unable to attend next year, the scholarship will go back into the fund and dispersed as regular student aid.