What Senior Class Gift is all about

Graphic by Georgia Westbrook '24 / The Flat Hat

By Senior Class Gift Committee: Maeve Marsh, Pietro Marino, Joseph O’Brien, Aanchal Goenka, Tara Vasanth, and Will Hamlett

The views expressed in the article are the authors’ own.

While I am no financial advisor, I can assure you that a $20.23 green plastic mug is the best investment you could make this year. 

Senior Class Gift has been a long-standing tradition at The College of William and Mary, yet it dynamically shifts in focus year after year according to the philosophies, dedication and goals of each senior class. While early senior classes donated important campus landmarks, more recent senior gifts have taken the form of “personal impact.” With Senior Class Gift, the age-old question is always “why would I donate to a school I already pay to attend?” 

The College has consistently been among the top-ranked for alumni giving, and for a strong reason. We have notable alumni across our network who have donated state of the art buildings, learning materials, endowments to continue inclusion efforts on campus, and so much more. But with asking current students to donate back to the College, there is one main reason: no one knows the community and its needs better than current seniors. Senior Class Gift has taken an impact-focused approach once again this year to ensure that the voice of our student body is heard and that tangible changes can be made in the class of 2023’s legacy. The $20.23 you invest in the university through the purchase of a mug can go to any organization of your choice, any cause on campus you care about, or any ongoing university campaigns you wish to support (i.e. Scholarship Impact Fund, All In, and more). 

It is more than just a donation, as it gives the senior body a voice; each individual directs the funds exactly where they want to support. We think of donating to a specific student organization, especially those with recurring dues or equipment costs, as a valuable investment into the future members of these clubs. Funding from senior donations can make such organizations more accessible to all on campus by alleviating extraneous costs, with the hope that dues can be lowered in subsequent semesters to create more opportunities for members in a range of financial situations. There is no better way to give back than by directly supporting your closest friends within the organizations, sports teams of various levels and performance groups that make the Tribe as vibrant as any college community in the country.

Across campus, students are doing a multitude of activities that, frankly, alumni are not always aware of. Our ultimate frisbee teams attending nationals, Club Equestrian hosting a horse show, or even acapella putting on showcases — your small gift back to the university as your Senior Class Gift supports these events and causes we all care about and cheer on, yet they are events that often do not fall into funding from a typical endowment area. It is an investment that directly supports whatever has impacted you most during your time at the College.

We also want to ensure your donation holds value not only for your professors, peers and friends, but for yourself as well. A $20.23 donation may seem minuscule to some, but for others this is a significant cost that needs to present practical personal value in some way. With a diverse student body, and varying definitions of fun, we have expanded our local Williamsburg partnerships to six great establishments who have set aside exclusive deals to senior donors.

Our intention is to continue to expand our partnerships to create more inclusive deals for all, regardless of your dietary restrictions or personal financial situation. We already have a wide range of deals to take advantage of on everything from beer, to coffee, to snowcones and are continuing to extend our reach in Williamsburg. See the list below for more details. Therefore, when you give back, you also receive — in more ways than one!

  1. Green Leafe | Wednesdays 7-9 p.m. (when you bring mug, you will get a 32 oz beer for price of 1.5 pint — price depending on selected beer/cider) 
  2. Virginia Beer Company | Thursdays 3-9 p.m. (when you bring mug, you will get a 32 oz beer for the price of 16 oz on 8% and lower ABV
  3. Culture Cafe | Fridays 12-4 p.m. (when you bring mug, $1 iced coffee)
  4. Rick’s | Tuesdays and Thursdays, all day (when you bring mug, 32oz fries and a beverage for $5)
  5. Column 15 | Wednesdays all day (when you bring mug, half off nitro cold brew first pour and refills)
  6. Sno-to-Go | Fridays 6-9 p.m. (when you bring mug, $2 junior snowballs)

Have a question or a deal we should create? Let us know! mmmarsh@wm.edu

Beyond the deals themselves, we are working with these local establishments to further use mug nights in new and innovative ways. To create opportunities to showcase our amazing senior class, we plan on having local student bands and DJs perform at breweries on mug nights. Additionally, we hope to further the impact of the Senior Class Gift by having student organizations host their own mug nights, where they will have the opportunity to engage with non-members to encourage SCG donations to their specific student club, team or research lab. 

Senior Class Gift is not just an unrestricted donation back to the school, it is an investment in maintaining the many communities on campus that have positively impacted our time here. It amplifies your voice by highlighting areas across the school that deserve more financial attention and resources, and we hope that donations back to your own student clubs and organizations will alleviate any financial concerns for members. Rather than the monetary value of your gift, the most important thing with acts of giving are the intentions behind it. Giving to those we love is one of the most rewarding actions we can take, so give with passion, love and intention, and enjoy some discounted beer and coffee while you’re at it.


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