Philanthropy Begins at Any Age

When a Techer’s creativity is unleashed, bold and remarkable things can happen in the lab as well as in pranks. And when senior class leaders join forces with the Caltech Fund to rally students to give, the creativity reaches fever pitch. Learn about the Class of 2015’s clever approach to a longstanding collegiate tradition.


Why give one gift when you can give many?

Student leaders from the Class of 2015 decided to nix the idea of giving a single gift. Instead, they encouraged classmates to support the programs that enriched their time on campus, such as the Student Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) program, music, and athletics.

Fundraising sometimes requires some muscle, preferably someone else’s.

A triumvirate of alumni, faculty, and staff—John Dabiri (MS ’03, PhD ’05), Erik Snowberg, and Oliver “Doc” Eslinger—offered to do a push-up for every $2 raised, which garnered nearly $800 and 377 push-ups. Fifteen students also exerted some muscle when Dabiri and Snowberg pledged to match, out of their own pockets, the donation of any student who joined in the workout. This earned an additional $533.55 in matching funds.

Giving can be fun and, yes, educational.

The goal of the senior gift and the Caltech Fund is to demonstrate that philanthropy begins at any age and consists of any amount. In fact, members of the Class of 2015 were asked to donate $20.15.

Ultimately, their senior gift—which included donations from students of other graduating classes as well as some faculty and staff—came in at $4,802. Now it is up to the Class of 2016 to create its own take on giving.

Giving Priorities