Senior class gift voting starts soon

by Karl Lang

Seniors who have donated to The Simpson Fund will be voting soon on their class gift. Their options are: benches and artwork for McNeill Hall, study tables for Dunn Library or equipment for Carse Fitness Center.

This year, Simpson will donate the actual gift in honor of the class of 2006. In the past, seniors pledged money and then bought a gift for the college with that money. Another new aspect this year is that the college is allowing the seniors to vote between the three gift choices through campus e-mail.

The Senior Class Campaign Committee, chaired by Melisse Walpole, assistant director of annual giving and alumni office, asked for input on the gift but received little response.

“Earlier we sent out an e-mail asking for [the seniors] input for gift choices, and we got very few responses back,” Walpole said. “But the ones that we did receive back we took into consideration in deciding the gift choices.”

The committee is still looking for seniors to pledge donations to The Simpson Fund.

“The Simpson Fund is our annual fund that helps with financial aid and scholarships for students, and we feel that it’s important for the seniors to give back to Simpson for their time here,” Walpole said. “By giving to The Simpson Fund, they’re helping students who are still here with their education. It’s an important fund.”

The committee is comprised of eight seniors, including Amanda Hoffman and Abby Janssen, who are coordinating the efforts to promote the campaign drive for The Simpson Fund.

“I think it makes the seniors feel better,” Hoffman said. “They can see something with their name on it. When they contribute to the fund, it helps other students with their education. It’s just nice to see something they helped with.”

One senior colloquium class taught by Patricia Calkins, associate professor of German, suggested the college make a gift to a non-profit organization in the class of 2006’s name. The class, Global Human Rights, recently purchased llamas for a third-world country. Hoffman said the suggestion came too late in the process for consideration.

“We actually did receive that suggestion, but it was after we had already decided on these three gifts, and we already had the seniors vote so we didn’t want to change it if some had already voted,” Hoffman said. “We thought it was a good suggestion, maybe for next year or something like that.”

According to Janssen, the importance of this process is not lost on the committee.

“It’s important because 98 percent of Simpson students receive financial assistance through The Simpson Fund, and it’s only possible because people get to give back,” Janssen said. “The biggest positive that the seniors are finding is having until April of 2007 to actually give the money.”

She said the annual fundraiser is going well this year.

“The whole process is going together very smoothly,” Janssen said. “I think Melisse [Walpole] is good for the [committee], and I think within our group we have a lot of energy. We have strong feelings about how important this whole process is in helping people.”

In the past, anywhere from 25-37 percent of the senior class has participated by donating money to the Fund. The committee is planning on contacting seniors on a one-on-one basis soon to help promote the campaign, which will end April 21.

“We have a celebration planned after finals, and that will be the last chance for seniors to donate to The Simpson Fund,” Hoffman said.