“Hey, I’m a Senior class agent and today’s the day of giving. I’m reaching out to encourage people in our grade to donate!” For the past four years, the Alumni and Development Office has organized the Day of Giving, and Senior class agents help reach out to students to raise money for the school’s funds.
The theme for this year’s Day of Giving was “Love our School.” On February 25, 1,370 donors donated $890,184, which was 139% of the donor participation goal for the event. Senior Class Agent Fanny Gunn ’21 said, “Everyone just wanted to show Hotchkiss how much we love [the school], even during difficult times.”
Donors could choose to allocate their gifts to specific initiatives, including diversity, equity and inclusion; financial aid; athletics; the Class of 2021 Senior parent gift; arts; faculty and staff support; environmental initiatives; and the Class of 1967 rowing fund.
In January, Ms. Kamaren Suwijn, director of the Hotchkiss Fund, recruited 17 new class agents from the Senior class. Class agents reach out to classmates for donations, contribute to the Senior class gift, and help plan reunions. Fanny said, “I really think that [being a] Senior Class agent not only [allows me to] stay connected to the school, but it also gives me a reason to keep the class connected.”
Since the Day of Giving is usually conducted remotely, the Alumni and Development Office did not make major changes to adapt to the pandemic. However, Ms. Suwijin said, “It was definitely really different doing the senior class agent training on Zoom, but I thought it was pretty effective. It was sad we didn’t get to have pizza together and chat, but I think meeting on Zoom kept us focused in a way maybe we would not have been if we were all together.”
Since Seniors can’t linger in hallways and Dining Hall to donate to the class gift, as in past years, Ms. Suwijn put together a Class of ’21 Senior Class Gift website this year. The website provided instructions for donating and setting up a five-year recurring donation.
Although Ms. Suwijn wished she was able to fundraise in the Main Building and build an in-person relationship with class agents, she recognized the community spirit of the event even virtually. “I think that more than ever our alumni are really supportive of our on campus community,” she said. “They have seen us rise above expectations in terms of how we’ve moved our learning community into a virtual hybrid space. They see that the ties that hold the Hotchkiss community together are stronger than [simply] being altogether in one place.”