“We wanted to find ways to get the message through to the current student body that we are Rensselaer, and we are part of its tradition and its future,” Kim says. “We wanted to let them know that philanthropy and giving back to the school is an important part of showing our pride.”
As a result, the Class of 2007, with Dennis Karamboulis ’07 as philanthropy chair, launched a fund-raising campaign that will become a model for future classes and serve as a foundation for student philanthropy. They began with a senior survey, and many suggested updating the 15th Street footbridge. A daily part of life on campus, students use the bridge to cross from the residence halls to the academic side of the campus.
“Every day that we crossed it, we came closer to becoming alumni,” Kim recalls.
In addition to the gift of their Union treasury funds, class leaders encouraged students to make a personal gift. As of this writing, the class has contributed nearly $13,000, and 109 gave at the student Patroon level of $100 and their names will be inscribed on a plaque to be mounted on the bridge. Student Patroons also will be recognized as members of the new Annual Patroon Society. This society emphasizes the importance of annual giving, and acknowledges donors who provide the vital support Rensselaer counts on each year to support its students and its programs.
“The response to our student giving program has been beyond what we even dared to hope for,” Kim says. “The project really opened my eyes to the importance of giving back to the Institute, and investing in something that has already done so much for me.”