Senior Class Gift and Senior Week Posted on September 1st, 2009 by

Students at the 'Grad Finale' take care of a few details in preparation for commencement. (Photo by Alex Messenger '10)

Students at the 'Grad Finale' take care of a few details in preparation for commencement. (Photo by Alex Messenger '10)

By Maren Balk ’09

With graduation only weeks away, I and more than 600 other seniors will say a bittersweet goodbye to the place where we have grown intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually.

As graduates, we will become alumni faced with new responsibilities and challenges. Gustavus has offered a series of real-life seminars, job/interview workshops, and job/graduate school fairs to prepare us for the “real world.”

But the school and its employees have also made sure to give the Senior Class opportunities to enjoy our Gustavus community right up until Commencement exercises on Sunday, May 31, 2009.

A “100 Days Out” calendar sent out by the Office of Alumni Relations to all graduating seniors provided information on all types of activities going, including campus speakers, community-wide events, and reminders of important “senior only” events.

One of the best things about graduating is Senior Week! I know that I look forward to the fun activities scheduled between finals and graduation. The traditional week is designed to provide us with an opportunity to celebrate our 4 years at Gustavus with close friends through various planned events. Past seniors say this week was significantly important in the transition to life off the hill. It’s one last chance to appreciate and celebrate the life-long friendships made at Gustavus.

This year, Senior Week will be May 26-May 30, and includes:

  • The Johnny Holm Concert
  • Picnic in the Arb and Twins Game
  • Valleyfair and President’s Banquet
  • Spa Day, Community Service Opportunity, and Boat Cruise -Candlelight Service

Many colleges have time between finals and commencement but Gustavus is one of a few that plan social events. Senior Week officially began in the 1980s as a chance to coordinate safe events for seniors. It has proven to be successful and popular with 80 percent of senior class participation.

As a senior, I prepare to depart from Gustavus but just can’t seem to grasp that I am really leaving. My friends and I feel like it was just yesterday that we were freshman and college was the next big thing in our lives. Now, the next thing is different for each of us.

I know that Gustavus has prepared me for what I am going to take on in my life. I know I will cherish and remember this place forever as the community has shaped the person I am. Even when I leave, I plan to involve myself as an alumna and I have already had the opportunity to give back to the school for the Senior Class Gift.

This year, a committee of several seniors has planned a special class gift to enhance the established Gustavus Annual Fund. This fund provides resources for a variety of things, including student scholarships, financial aid, faculty development, and green initiatives. This year’s class gift is not a physical marker, but a sustainable one for future students’ education.

Expected amount of funds raised is not the focus, but rather the percentage of the class that chooses to give. This year, the 50-year reunion class offered to match a certain amount of funds based upon our participation (they will match at 30 percent).

We may not be able to give very much, but we can give very little and still achieve a great mass. President Jack Ohle and the Board of Trustees will also match by participation. If we reach 50 percent, the board will contribute $2,009 to our class gift. This is an exciting opportunity for the class of 2009 to truly leave a legacy by impacting the experience of future Gusties.

I think it is really important to recognize how much each of us has benefited from past alumni gifts, and how we should pay that forward to future Gusties. I have had an incredible time here, and I think many other people can agree with that.

I want others to have this chance, and I want to recognize that others have given to my experience. When you factor in scholarships and aid (which almost every single student receives), you realize that a lot of schooling is given through alumni aid,” agreed senior Holly Anderson, psychology major and committee member of the senior class gift.

I believe that if I can allow at least one other student to enjoy their time at Gustavus just half as much as I have, then I will have left a legacy and made a difference on this campus.


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