Lindsay Goodman, GWSPH ’17, and Pranav Nanda, ESIA ’17, are coordinating the 2017 Senior Class Gift Campaign, an annual effort that started more than 20 years ago and encourages GW seniors to start giving back prior to graduation. Since this year’s campaign launched in August, Lindsay and Pranav have been advocates for the impact their classmates can make.
“The Class of 2017 has had an amazing student experience and some incredible opportunities made possible by the philanthropy of classes before us,” says Goodman. “The senior class gift campaign, which started in the 1980s, is a great tradition that allows seniors the opportunity to give back to programs that were meaningful to their college experience.”
Last year’s campaign saw record participation, with more than 62 percent of seniors donating a total of $87,553. While they’re still looking for a majority of class participation, Goodman and Nanda say their primary goal is increasing the number of “sustaining gifts,” where seniors pledge recurring donations. They say this will help further the university’s “culture of philanthropy.”
“Increasing the number of sustaining gifts allows our class to make a difference in the student experience year after year,” says Nanda. “Our goal is to connect with as many seniors as possible, and show how the senior class campaign is a way to give back to those important experiences and programs.”
Seniors choose where their gifts benefit, including but not limited to student groups, athletic teams, and scholarships. Goodman directed her donation to GW Panhellenic and GW Colonial Inauguration, while Nanda chose GW Relay For Life and the GW Alternative Breaks Program. Both coordinators also gave to the GW Power and Promise Fund, a financial aid resource that helps the more than 70 percent of students receiving financial assistance.
“These organizations really helped me grow as a student, and the relationships I built through both of those organizations have made a lasting impact on me,” Goodman explains. “The GW Power and Promise Fund is also very important to me, because as a student who receives financial aid, I recognize how important it is to ensure that all admitted students who want to come to GW are able to do so.”
The pair works within the Division of Development and Alumni Relations and partners closely with offices across the university, including the Division of Student affairs, to execute the campaign. In addition to connecting seniors to the campaign through Twitter and Facebook, the fundraising effort runs events year-round. In the coming months, Goodman and Nanda will host the annual Senior BBQ, a networking reception with young alumni, and Cider and Donuts for seniors and their families over Colonials Weekend.
Through these activities, Goodman and Nanda hope that the campaign shows “what it means to be part of the larger GW alumni community,” and the impact that philanthropy plays in the student experience.
“I have had an amazing experience at GW, and my education has opened the door to some truly amazing opportunities,” says Nanda. “It’s our turn now to participate in this tradition and ensure that future students have similar—and better—opportunities and experiences.” —Sophie Ota