Moving the Student Giving Spirit

Students chalk a Bascom Hill walkway

From left, students Taryn Grisham, Nicholas Paiser and Shannon Houe chalk a Bascom Hill walkway with their thanks to donors.

Students have taken the lead on developing a culture of giving on campus: Doubling the number of gifts from the senior class. Spreading the word about philanthropy’s impact through the new University of Wisconsin Student Foundation. Increasing student gifts from schools and colleges with an already-strong track record of support.

By several measures, students giving to support UW–Madison and their awareness of its importance leaped forward in 2011.

“It’s important for students to know how much giving truly impacts their college experience.”

Avery Wine

  • Through a match from John and Tashia Morgridge, members of the class of 2011 who made a gift between $20.11 and $120.11 by year’s end had their gifts doubled. The result? Twice as many seniors made gifts: from 5 percent of the class of 2010 to 10 percent of 2011 graduates.
  • The UW Student Foundation took up residence in the new Student Activities Center in East Campus Mall. Its members engaged students throughout the year, from Philanthropy Fridays chalking sidewalks with messages of impact to conducting a “Badgers Backing Badgers” social media push to generate gifts at the end of the fall semester. “We get to earn a degree from an exceptional place,” UW Student Foundation President Seamus Fitzgerald said. “I think we need to give back to the community and to the place that made it possible.”
  • In the Wisconsin School of Business, a strong culture of giving has been fostered among students and graduates. Its class of 2011 had great success: 22 percent of undergraduates made gifts, and 100 percent of the MBA class made gifts or pledges, both increased from the year before. “The point of the campaign is not about the amount of money we raise,” 2011 Class Campaign leader Jon Scholl said. “We just want to make a statement that we’re proud of the things accom­plished at the business school and that we are serious about investing in the long-term value of our degree.”
  • The College of Engineering launched its Connect for Life initiative, informing and inspiring students with messages of how alumni and friends contribute to student causes inside and outside of the classroom. The College’s Industrial Advisory Board kicked off the program with a 2-to-1 match for any gift made by a current student or recent graduate. “It’s important for students to know how much giving truly impacts their college experience,” said Avery Wine, a junior in industrial engineering who coordinated Connect for Life. “With tuition only providing about 15 percent of College of Engineering revenue, gifts from alumni and friends are helping support more resources that students rely on every day.”