Student Government launches inaugural senior class gift

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From left, seniors Jennell Benson, Cameron Maxwell and Brad Wolff have organized a senior class gift for the first time to allow the class of 2018 to donate to the University. 

Photo Credit: Hannah Yoes | Daily Texan Staff

For the first time in almost 100 years, Student Government is launching a 2018 senior class gift fundraising initiative, giving seniors a chance to give back to the University. 

Students in the UT class of 2018 are being asked to donate money to Interpersonal Violence Peer Support, a Student Emergency Services food pantry or to a Longhorn silhouette structure. SG launched the initiative Monday and hosted an event Tuesday afternoon to kick it off.

Brad Wolff, senior class gift director, said SG was passionate about starting this initiative to encourage students to give back.

“The more we raise, the better it is,” said Wolff, a finance senior. “Ultimately, our goal is in the range of $120,000, with President Fenves matching $50,000 worth of donations. We’re asking seniors for $20.18 and rewarding them with a commemorative pin in the shape of the tower with 2018 on it.”

Seniors can donate any dollar amount to any of the three causes. Money donated to IVPS will be used to compensate the group of trained students who provide peer support for students affected by interpersonal violence.

Donations to the Student Emergency Services food pantry will be used to provide meals to students who are food insecure. Lastly, donations to the Longhorn silhouette will fund the addition of a Class of 2018 memorial art structure in the Student Activity Center. SG officials said they are hoping to raise $55,000 for this.

“We phrased seniors as those who identify with the class of 2018,” Wolff said. “That includes students who graduated early, who are finishing in the standard four years or who are taking an extra semester or year.”

SG has high expectations for what this initiative will be in the future, Wolff said.

“We hope this will become a real tradition, and we hope to see seniors each year continuing to improve the University,” Wolff said.

Cameron Maxwell, SG external financial director, said SG began planning the senior class gift in September.

“We sent out a survey to the class (of 2018) to see what they wanted, and we’ve also had a lot of help from the (Office of the President) and the Office of the Provost,” finance senior Maxwell said. “The class gift is a way for every single member of the senior class to come together and leave their legacy in their own ways and (to) give back to the next generation of Longhorns.”

Maxwell said this is the inaugural senior class gift. According to SG’s donation site, the student body first came together for a cause in 1924 when they raised $100,000 to build a football stadium on campus.

Government senior Jennell Benson played a role in the graphic design of the project and helped develop the idea of the class gift.

Benson said it is important for every student to know that their donation is being matched up to $50,000.

“When you donate $20, President Fenves will be matching $20, so you’re really donating $40,” Benson said. “(As a senior), the biggest thing for me is leaving a piece of me at the University. I will also know that I’m giving back. I’ve already sent a donation to (IVPS) and will probably donate again.”