Senior Tailgate celebrates graduation & giving back

Andrew ClarkStaff Writer

Last Wednesday night, May 10, the Gustavus Fund gathered all Seniors to participate in an end of the year celebration of the transition from students into alumni and giving back to the Gustavus community. The Senior Tailgate included food, fun, philanthropy, and celebrating the commitment and work that the class has put into the Gustavus community.

This event is an annual tradition and has more commonly been known in the past as The Senior Social. This event has previously been held in Alumni Hall and featured activities such as beer and wine tasting along with different speakers that have given talks to the Senior class. This year, it was held slightly differently.

This event was planned and coordinated by the Senior Class Legacy Committee. This committee is made up of a variety of different Gustavus students from all different majors and walks of life, who all come together in the love of philanthropy and Gustavus. This committee has many purposes and is divided up into several sub-groups within the committee. The group of current Seniors has worked very hard to not only plan this celebratory event but also to carry on the tradition of the class mural and to impart a gift to the Gustavus community.

“So what [The Senior Tailgate] is, is both a celebration of moving into Alumni-hood, but also a celebration of the Senior class gift. It’s an acknowledgement of the fundraising that they have been doing, it’s a highlight on that. President Bergman will give a toast, and also celebrate their gift to the college,” Assistant Director of the Gustavus Fund, Molly Milinkovich said. 

This year’s Senior Tailgate incorporated some breweries that are owned and run by Gustavus Alumni who came to give samples of their product, as well as music and other outdoor games and activities. There were also bonfires and smores, as well as other snacks. This was all in celebration of the Seniors, the impact they have had on the community here at Gustavus, and then commemorating the Senior mural and the Senior gift.

The Senior Gift is an annual tradition where the Seniors give a gift back to the future Gustavus community. Seniors raise funds to give back both through their own means as well as through other fundraising efforts. There are also generous donors that have agreed to match what the Seniors donate if they reach a certain monetary goal towards their gift. Donations will be accepted through graduation towards the Senior gift. This year’s planned gift is to build a new, big stone fire pit in the Arboretum. 

In addition to the Senior gift, there is also the Senior mural. The mural is being painted by Senior artists and is located in the basement of Beck Hall. If Seniors donate five dollars towards the Senior gift, they will be allowed to come and sign the Senior mural. 

The Senior Class Legacy Committee works hand-in-hand with The Gustavus Fund. The Gustavus Fund is an annual fund within the college that helps fund scholarships, new technology, and more around campus. They are a part of the Advancement office alongside the Alumni and Parent engagement offices, and the Donor Relations office.

“The goal [of the newly formed Student Philanthropy Council] is really to expand what it means to be philanthropic so that when you hear that word you don’t just think [of] giving tons and tons of money… there are so many ways to give back.”  Milinkovich said

The Student Philanthropy Fund plans to expand on the traditions of the Senior Class Legacy Committee with current Juniors that have “shadowed’ the current Senior Class Legacy Committee beginning at the start of the fall semester. They hope to be representative of all groups across campus and to form many great relationships with the student body.

“Going forward, what the plan and goal is is to not just have this be something that you do when you are a Senior. We are working on developing a really substantial Student Philanthropy Council. And then what will happen is that will be represent[ation] of all the classes, and then when you become the senior class, you will become the Senior Class Legacy Committee that plans the mural, [The Senior Tailgate], and the gift,” Milinkovich explained. 

The Gustavus Fund hopes to engage with students who want to expand their views as to what philanthropy is, and how to go about expanding these views. The Student Philanthropy Council plans on educating students on how many of the privileges that we have at Gustavus are due to the philanthropic work of many generations of generous donors and supporters. If you are interested in learning more about what philanthropy looks like at Gustavus, you can check out the student-led Instagram page @GustiesGive or contact Molly Milinkovich.

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