Don’t leave school without it?

By the

March 15, 2001

If the Senior Class Gift Committee is to be believed, the legacy of the roughly 1,550 members of the class of 2001 is not the dedication they’ve shown to their academics or extracurricular activities but the amount of cold hard cash they are able to plunk down for a few extra trees and shrubs to adorn a building they may never see. While a certain degree of foliation certainly seems to be in order, considering the wide-scale obliteration of trees near the Canal Road entrance that was necessitated by the construction of the Southwest Quadrangle, the Senior Class Gift hardly seems to be the appropriate venue for the procurement of those funds.

The democratic contest to decide the project to receive funding was reasonably well discharged, but the lackluster choices seem to have dissuaded two-thirds of the seniors from voting. Solicitation of student input on the voting options should be the best way to gauge the opinions of seniors as to what causes deserved funds, and this was done. There seems to have been a decisive split, however, between causes that seemed to have an immediate need for the potential $13,000 to $15,000 gift, and those that were less so. And a few benches and trees, complete with a plaque noting that the Class of 2001 had a preference for vegetation, is one of the less deserving causes.

It should be noted that other class gifts have been equally lacking in sophistication and even sense. Last year, the Class of 2000 voted to donate their $30,583.02 to the construction of a statue of our mascot. But this is perhaps the only opportunity for graduating seniors to channel funds directly to a cause they believe is in need of support. If greenery is a priority, then so be it. But when shrubbery trumps safety and service, questions are necessarily raised.

The Gift Committee is not to blame for the questionable choices of their peers, but their advertising leaves just about as much to be desired. According to the Committee, one of the principal reasons to contribute financially to Georgetown (outside of tuition, that is) is that the Committee will take Visa, Mastercard or American Express. Appealing to seniors’ apparently intense desire to jet off the Hilltop, a March 9 letter encourages students to “rack up frequent flier miles” by paying in plastic. However, the enthusiastic marketing ploy?”You can charge it!”?simply fails to be a wholly persuasive argument for doling out bucks for begonias.

Perhaps the only argument for the institution of the Senior Class Gift is the second bolded point offered by the Committee, “our common appreciation of Georgetown.” Seniors should feel an affinity for their school and even a desire to give back some of what they’ve gained. But the Gift’s attempt at translating that feeling into monetary form seems like just another plea for cash.

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