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Tufts Student Fund starts annual alumni fundraiser

Published: Friday, March 1, 2013

Updated: Friday, March 1, 2013 02:03


Caroline Geiling / The Tufts Daily

The Tufts Student Fund (TSF) began its annual Alumni Thank-a-Thon fundraiser yesterday at the Mayer Campus Center with the goal of thanking young alumni donors.


The Tufts Student Fund (TSF) kicked off its fifth annual fundraiser, the Alumni Thank-a-Thon, in the Mayer Campus Center yesterday to acknowledge young alumni donors. Graduates from 2008 to 2012 qualify for this group, TSF President Alyssa Ridley said.

“The goal is just to get people to thank the alumni donors and raise awareness about what the donations do,” TSF Secretary Sarah Kee said.

Students were able to write personalized thank-you cards, sign a thank-you banner and express gratitude in a video for the alumni donors, Ridley, a senior, said.

She explained that this year’s fundraiser will run until March 28, and the focus is on the number of students who participate or donate, as opposed to the total donation amount raised.

“This is really about participation and cultivating a community in the alumni and the students that has to do with participation,” Kee, a sophomore, added.

The fundraiser is essentially a challenge, with alumni or parent donors who have agreed to donate specific amounts of money based on the amount of student donors or dollars raised for a given year, Ridley added.

“We’re going to be having some Greek Life competitions and class competitions for [this year’s fundraiser],” she said.

This cause is important, according to Ridley, because over 50 percent of the Tufts student body relies on some form of financial aid. 

“We want to send this out in a strong, positive message through the Tufts community,” Ridley said. “If 52 percent of our student body relies on financial aid, then that means if you don’t rely on it, the person next to you probably does.”

Kee added that philanthropy is important not only for tuition and financial aid, but also for the maintenance of campus buildings and the like.

“We want to internalize in the students that for [the] university to continue to run at the caliber that it’s at, it needs your support,” Ridley said.

Twenty percent of Tufts alumni give some amount in donations to the university, with 17,902 alumni donating in the last fiscal year, not including current and past parents and friends of Tufts students, according to Ridley.

“Whenever I see the numbers, I’ve always [been] surprised about how low the percentage of alumni who donate is,” Kee said.

The nationwide average of college alumni who donate is 13 percent, according to a 2012 survey conducted by U.S. News and World Report.

“It’s still a significant number, but [it’s] lower than universities of our caliber and significantly lower than the Ivy Leagues,” Ridley said.

Participation in donation programs is also a factor in Tufts’ rankings on college lists like U.S. News and World Report, where about five percent of the rankings are determined by the percentage of alumni who donate to the school, according to Ridley. She explained that it is one of the easiest ways for Tufts to change its university ranking, she said.

“We now have over 15 people working in various forms, from media representatives to representatives for classes, to [get] the message out there so that we’re hitting as many people as possible,” Ridley said.

TSF was founded in 2009 and has been growing over the years, developing from an initial participation rate of 21 percent in its first year to 23 percent in 2011, with a total $52,000 of student and matching alumni gifts in 2011, according to the TSF website.

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