sealPurdue News

February 7, 2002

Seniors face off for philanthropy in new Purdue-Indiana rivalry

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Seniors from Purdue and Indiana universities will face each other in a new competition beginning Sunday (2/10) that seeks to change the face of philanthropy at the undergraduate level.

When the first Senior Face Off annual giving campaign launches this weekend, students from the two universities will inspire their classmates to pledge financial contributions as a way give back to their respective schools. Victory is not measured by money raised. The senior class that garners the higher participation rate wins the challenge. The contest ends May 1.

For the first time at Purdue, students can make a gift, pledge, or both to the annual fund of the school, department or program of their choice.

"The Senior Face Off is a new twist on the traditional senior class gift that has been a part of the Purdue culture for years," said Jennifer Pratt, Purdue's associate director of annual giving. "Not only did we invite IU's seniors to join us, but we are asking students to support their academic schools rather than a universitywide project."

One purpose of the campaign is to educate seniors about the importance of staying connected to the university and their schools after graduation. Connecting seniors' gifts with student needs emphasizes the significance of giving back to ensure that the same resources and opportunities seniors enjoyed during their undergraduate years will exist for future students, Pratt said.

"I believe it is very important that students understand the value of philanthropy, and this is going to be a fun way to educate them," said Purdue senior Andy Canada of New Palestine, Ind., president of the Purdue Foundation Student Board and co-chairman of the senior campaign. "I believe the challenge will show students, faculty and alumni how important private support of the university is."

Gift funds can be used to help underwrite the cost of such student programs and services as career development resources, classroom equipment, technology and software upgrades, and scholarships.

"Every gift counts; every gift makes a difference," Pratt said. "When compared to a $30 million gift, $1,000, $500 or even $150 doesn't seem like a big deal, but every gift – or in this case – every 'face' matters. Less than half of Purdue's operating budget comes from tuition and state appropriations, the rest is made up mostly of private funding and other sources.

"Our schools wouldn't be able to offer nearly as many programs or student services without the support of alumni and friends. So those gifts of $1,000, $500 and $150 make a large difference over time."

Framing the Senior Face Off in the form of interschool rivalry adds an element of fun to the more serious matter of building alumni stewardship and philanthropy as well, Pratt added.

"Participating in the Senior Face Off gives every Boilermaker the chance to do one of his or her favorite things: to show their school spirit through gifts and pledges and beat IU one more time before graduating," she said.

Erin Trisler, annual fund associate with the Indiana University Foundation, said Indiana University Student Foundation members and volunteers are eager to launch this year's Senior Challenge campaign.

"A competition against Purdue will draw in more interest from graduating seniors on the Bloomington campus," she said. "Our senior challenge is a very significant educational campaign that complements the continuous lifetime involvement of current students and alumni."

Seniors at both schools can keep track of the competition on the Purdue-IU Senior Face Off Web site.

The Web site also will track the participation rates of each of Purdue's schools and departments.

Writer: Grant Flora, (765) 4942073,

Sources: Jennifer Pratt, (765) 496-2679,

Andy Canada, (765) 743-5500 x203,

Erin Trisler, (812) 856-4191,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

Related Web sites:
Indiana University Senior Challenge

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