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Led by Class of 2011, Student Giving Reaches All-Time High

May 17, 2011 – 
In April, the Rutgers School of Law–Newark Classes of 2011 through 2014 renewed their battle for bragging rights in the student-organized Class Funds Competition — and raised more than $6,300 for the law school in the process. The intense but friendly annual contest aims to energize students to give back to the law school. The Class Fund co-chairs also hope that the outstanding participation of their classmates will encourage alumni to increase annual giving.

Champion of this year’s competition, with the highest participation rate and donation amount for the second straight year, was the “Centennial” Class of 2011. As first-year day students and second-year evening students during the law school’s Centennial celebration, the Class of 2011 was particularly inspired by learning of the school’s notable history of innovation and achievement. With 30.2 percent of its members donating a total of $1,446 and an additional $1,067 raised from 20 faculty members and administrators, the graduating class won the competition handily. Class co-chairs Heidi Arnesen, Zaara Bajwa, Brian Biglin, and Robert Menendez were thrilled when student donations alone almost reached the overall target for the year of $1,500. After faculty contributions and a generous gift by Bar/Bri, the 2011 Fund grew by $3,613 this spring.

With almost $5,000 now available in its fund, the Class of 2011 will be able to confer a substantial gift to the law school upon its graduation. Further, the fund co-chairs plan to continue coordinating donations by members of their class as alumni.
“Over the course of three years, well over 100 members of the Centennial Class donated to the fund,” said Biglin, proudly noting that the class recorded its highest giving rate as 3Ls. “We hope this sets a good example for the other classes and especially the alumni base. If every class would match our giving rate, the advancement of the law school would be absolutely incredible.”

The Class of 2012 finished in second place, with a 19 percent participation rate and $1,392 raised overall. They were closely trailed by the Class of 2014 (comprised of first-year evening students) with a 16.7 percent participation rate and $762 raised, and the Class of 2013 with 15.4 percent participation and $570 raised. Twenty-one percent of all current students donated to the school during this year’s competition. More details and an honor roll of donors can be found at http://law.newark.rutgers.edu/home/class-fund-program.

The Class Fund Competition has grown each year since its inception in 2006. During this year’s kick-off reception, nearly $2,000 was raised in two hours, with students who could not attend contributing throughout the following week. “We boosted excitement around the reception this year by holding it in the large atrium of the law school, while providing students with epicurean delights and a live DJ,” said Guillermo Artiles, Class of 2012 Fund co-chair.

Students were asked to make a donation following guidelines established by the co-chairs, who suggested $30 from those about to graduate, $20 from 2Ls and 3LEs, and $10 from 1Ls, 2LEs, and 1LEs. Since the winning class is crowned based on its participation rate, the 1Ls and 2Ls were at no disadvantage. The week-long competition is about inclusion, school spirit, and maximizing the ties between soon-to-be alums and the Development Office (and, of course, winning). Said Artiles: “My 2012 classmates and I increased our participation, and though we could not outdo the reigning Class of 2011, we look forward to taking the crown next year.”

In addition to encouraging students to donate, the co-chairs engaged with faculty and administrators, achieving exceptionally higher participation than in previous years. The co-chairs also received support from Bar/Bri, which donated both to the Class of 2011 and to the funds of previous graduating classes.

Aiming high is what the Class Funds Competition is all about. An entirely student-run initiative, the competition reflects the strong commitment each class has to advancing the Rutgers School of Law–Newark mission of excellence, opportunity, and impact.