Class challenge aims to boost Tulane’s ranking, promote school spirit

Robert Marchini, Staff Reporter

Tulane is encouraging current students to give back to the university after graduation with the Class Challenge program, which ended Wednesday. The program focuses on the total number of students that donate in each class, not the dollar amount donated by the class. Evan Nicoll, the Young Alumni & Student Philanthropy officer in Tulane’s Development Office, said the program is about encouraging students to give in the future, not making money for the university now.

“The program typically only breaks even,” Nicoll said. “We want to encourage students to give so that future students can enjoy the same Tulane experience they did.”

The rate at which alumni give back to a university is called the “alumni giving rate”, or AGR. It is simply the number of alumni who gave any money, as a percentage of the total living alumni of a university. The AGR is lower at Tulane than at peer institutions like Vanderbilt, Emory or Duke. Tulane’s total AGR is only 18 percent, and for recent graduating classes it is as low as 4 percent. The idea of the Class Challenge is that increasing student involvement now will encourage them to continue to support Tulane after graduation.

This also has an effect on rankings. The AGR makes up 5 percent of US News and World Report’s ranking, a popular ranking service. 

The program is student-run. Sydney Lippman, co-chair of the Class of 2016 committee, said that the program serves as students giving a “stamp of approval” for Tulane.

“It’s about participating in giving back to the university that they love and for everything they care about on campus,” Lippman said.

The program also seeks to inform students about all that alumni donations pay for, such as scholarships, community service, research grants and study abroad. Sydney Licht, co-chair of the Class of 2015 committee, said that students can target their donation to support specific programs just like alumni can.

“This event really embodies the spirit of community engagement,” Licht said. “I gave to programs I’m fortunate to have enjoyed here.”