Student Giving Campaign

Encouraging awareness among Mason’s future alumni

By Denise St.Ours

From lecture halls and late-night study sessions to impromptu social gatherings and lasting friendships, the undergraduate experience is a whirlwind of activity both in and out of the classroom. The education received and relationships forged become integral components of what shapes the years beyond graduation.

The Student Giving Campaign at George Mason underscores the importance of giving to the institution that is helping to transform dreams into reality. Led by a committee of students, the fund-raising initiative seeks to raise awareness and build support among Mason’s freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors that will continue long after the caps and gowns are stored away.

“We applaud these students who are leading the way and educating their peers about the significance of private support at a public university,” says Judy Jobbitt, president of the George Mason University Foundation and vice president of university development and alumni affairs. “Their efforts reflect Patriot spirit at its best.”

This is the third year of the campaign—a young tradition that has taken root, according to Sheena Davidson, BS Management Information Systems ’05. During her junior year, Davidson became involved in the Student Giving Campaign, which replaced the Senior Class Gift Campaign to broaden the focus and engage a greater number of undergraduates. More than 100 students attended the kickoff party this September, and the campaign is halfway toward meeting its goal of 400 student donors by the end of the semester in May.

Davidson, a former Mason track star from Rochester, New York, continued to work with the Student Giving Campaign through the position she held after graduation in the Office of Annual Giving. She says the track program was her incentive to give when she was a student.

“Seeing firsthand that we did not have enough funds to do what we wanted inspired my track teammates and me to make gifts,” she explains. “Through our donations, we were able to help upgrade our athletic equipment.”

Targeting Support

According to committee cochair Tanner Young, a native of Atlanta, Georgia, who will graduate in May with a degree in integrative studies, the majority of contributions are targeted to a particular program or activity because students like the idea that their support will have an immediate impact on undergraduates. In addition to athletics, students have directed their gifts to such areas as student publications or the libraries, or honored a favorite professor through gifts to a particular academic unit.

“Students give to Mason because, like me, they love their school,” says Young. “Mason has offered us a lot and opened many doors. There is a feeling of great pride.”

Cochairing the campaign with Young is Mamuna Oyofo, a senior majoring in biology and, like Young, a native of Atlanta. Other members of the Student Giving Committee are Tori Allain (communication), Covington, Louisiana; Natasha Hidgins (integrative studies), Norfolk; Bryan Mayaen (marketing), Virginia Beach; and Kiesha Strand (psychology), Richmond.

Committee members say the average contribution among students is five dollars and that they are often asked how that amount can make a difference.

“Well, it makes a big difference when you combine it with all the other five dollar contributions we receive,” says Young. “As students, most of us don’t have a lot of spare cash—that is why the focus of this campaign is not on dollar level but on participation and awareness.”

And, Davidson adds, on building a tradition of support that will continue well into the future.

Future alumni celebrate during the Student Giving Campaign’s end-of-year party in May.


“Students give to Mason because, like me, they love their school. . . . There is a feeling of great pride.”

Tanner Young






“Seeing firsthand that we did not have enough funds to do what we wanted inspired my track teammates and me to make gifts.”

—Sheena Davidson, BS ’05