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BYU Today

Students “Choose to Give”

By Whitney A. Archibald, ‘01

THERE isn’t a math professor at BYU who will tell you that one equals six. But all over campus students know that if they donate $1 to the Annual Fund, it will be matched with a $5 contribution from friends of the university.

The Choose to Give campaign is a student-oriented and student-run program that invites students to give to BYU‘s newly created Annual Fund. During the last week in March, student jugglers, singers, martial artists, and dancers kicked off the campaign with daily performances in Brigham Square outside of the Wilkinson Student Center. Presidents of the College Democrats and College Republicans even signed a joint resolution in favor of the campaign as a brass band played behind them. Each club that performed had pledged 100 percent participation, with every member giving something.

Timothy J. Hart, ’02, explains, “By giving we have the opportunity to help other students through the scholarship fund. And increasing the number of students and alumni who give raises the university’s national ranking and improves the value of our degrees when we graduate.”

Though only halfway through the campaign–donations will be accepted throughout the year–students have already given more this year than in any previous student campaign. “These students catch the vision that it is our responsibility and our great honor to give back and to prepare the way for those who are coming after us,” says Kyle W. Tresner, ’95, associate director of Annual Giving.

The Annual Fund concentrates BYU‘s fund-raising efforts into three main categories: president’s/trustees’ priorities, general scholarships, and the dean’s discretionary fund. Donations to these categories are matched five-to-one for students, two-to-one for alumni of five years and fewer, and one-to-one for alumni of more than five years.

“Through this one fund we will support all of the undergraduate programs and other priorities,” says BYU President Merrill J. Bateman. “The Annual Fund is the centerpiece of fund-raising at BYU and the number-one way to help this university expand and extend its light.”

The Annual Fund campaign is also directed at alumni, where participation rates matter almost as much as dollars, says advancement vice president K. Fred Skousen, ’65. “About 20 percent of our alumni are giving now. And that’s good. But we’d like it to be at least 50 percent. At Yale and some of the top schools in the country, 45 to 60 percent of alumni give. We’d like to get into that elite group.”