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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Students speak out at Carls Give Day

<ing Carls Give Day, one of the college’s largest annual fundraisers, approximately 20 student organizers from various student groups, including Carls for a Democratic Society and Carleton’s Organized Radicals and Leftists (CORAL), called alumni to talk about campus issues, ranging from fossil fuel divestment to faculty diversity.

As a part of the event, which happened Wednesday in the Great Hall, the Alumni Relations Office had students receive calls from alumni and write cards to alumni to thank them for their donations.

Some of the student organizers were under the impression that students called alumni directly from the event. However, student volunteers were never permitted to call alumni for the fundraiser, according to Maggie Patrick, Director of the Alumni Annual Fund.

Student workers for the Alumni Relations Office, who regularly call alumni, completed work shifts during Carls Give Day last year and they were the only students allowed to directly contact alumni. However, because of some background noise complaints, no calls were made from the Great Hall this year, said Patrick.

Instead, student organizers sat outside the Great Hall and called alumni from a list of compiled phone numbers provided by CORAL, according to student volunteer Natalie Jacobson ’18.

Each person urged alumni to give, asked them to choose financial aid as the benefactor of their gift and informed them of an important issue on campus. Sometimes, the students gave alumni follow-up actions to take if they wanted to help their chosen cause, such as contacting President Steven Poskanzer or signing related petitions, according to Jacobson.

Some students who were involved in this action wrote postcards to donors. These postcards thanked the donors for giving and contained messages about problems students see on campus.

 Members of CORAL introduced themselves to staff working Carls Give Day and “have been quite thoughtful,” said Assistant VP for Annual Giving/ Alumni & Parent Relations Becky Zrimsek. She said that these students were not disruptive to the event.

 “The whole plan is to get people involved,” said student organizer Cruz Morales ’18. “It’s kind of putting up a false face to say that there are things at Carleton that couldn’t be improved with the money that the are spending.”

Morales said that involving alumni in the issues on campus is important, as alumni care about many of them. “Our voices matter, and this is a relationship building thing.”

Morales said he chose to speak to alumni about diversity because: “Whenever the president says this is a place of progress, this is a diverse place, and we’re always getting more diverse, better, and getting stronger together, that’s kind of missing the point.” He said that he worries that Poskanzer’s rhetoric is an excuse to never push for more diversity or give resources to the recruitment of more diverse students and faculty.

Another student organizer, Peter Sang ’17 said, “Our action was completely in line with the Give Day spirit as we are calling alums to donate first before we talked to them about our concerns. As someone who is on financial aid, I deeply care about that issue and our action was to help Carleton raise more money.”

Last year, Carls Give Day raised $873,015 for the annual fund, according Partick. Averaging about 5% of the college’s annual budget, the annual fund does not get invested or go into the endowment. Instead, the fund acts as a sort of checking account with money going towards a range of college expenses, such as financial aid and student life.

As of Thursday, this year’s Carls Give day raised $432,233, outperforming last year’s total of $365,052 from the day after of the event.
The total from this year will rise as more donations arrive through the mail and as gifts are fully processed by the Alumni Annual Fund. The final amount will probably be completely tallied by early next week, according to Patrick.

Carls Give Day began three years ago as a change from a week-long fundraising session because volunteer numbers were decreasing and much of the giving moved online.

This year’s schedule included performance by a cappella groups, sports teams volunteering and a lunch with the sketch comedy group Lenny Dee, according to Zrimsek.

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