by Samantha Lund, News Editor

Seniors look to give back by creating a scholarship opportunity for an incoming first-year in this year’s Grad Gift.

The Grad Gift is an annual fundraiser that allows the senior class to give back to Pacific Lutheran University. Students who attend PLU are expected to exemplify the school’s mission statement and participate in the Grad Gift.

The Grad Gift is a tradition that seniors are expected to take part in with. Last year, however, only 49 people participated in giving back. This year, the Student Philanthropy Committee has made it a goal to get more Lutes, of all ages, involved in the fundraiser.

This year’s fundraiser will take on a new shape and style over the course of the next three months. Rather than asking
peopleto donate for the gift, there will be a series of events and the proceeds from them will go to the fundraiser, senior Salina Ellison said.

Ellison researched the last graduating class’s fundraiser and felt it needed a new direction and to be better integrated with the PLU community. 

This year, she hopes to make the Grad Gift experience something that everyone enjoys and participates in.

“If people are going to these events as first-years knowing it is going to a scholarship, by the time they’re a senior they’ll want to be involved,” Ellison said. “You really don’t have to go out of your way to make an impact.”

The new Grad Gift theme is “Who’s the Lute?” It will center on the idea that one incoming first-year will receive a gift from the graduating class. That gift will be given to them in the form of a one-time scholarship when they come to PLU.

“The thought behind this is that it is a full circle,” Ellison said. “People helped you get to come here and you help the next students by doing the same.”

After the “Who’s the Lute?” student is chosen, he or she will write a note about themselves that will be sent out to all the donors and people involved letting them see who the Grad Gift went to. 

This way, the money trail is completely transparent and people can see their money going to something good, Ellison said.

The first of the Grad Gift events will be on March 15 at Northern Pacific Coffee Company from 6-8 p.m. PLU artists will be performing at the coffee shop to support the Grad Gift. 

There will be a $2 cover charge that will go toward the Grad Gift and 15 percent of the proceeds will go to the gift as well.

The 322 Jazz Collective and members of PLUtonic and HERmonic will be performing at NPCC.

The events will be held on the 15th of each month for the remainder of the school year in honor of the class of 2015. The Grad Gift committee will also host a bowling night for students at Paradise Bowl April 15 and The Haven on May 15.

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Samantha Lund was the Editor in Chief at The Mast, a student-run newsroom within Pacific Lutheran University, in 2015-16. Lund created Mast Magazine in 2015 to give students a forum for long form news pieces. She could be found writing for Pacific Lutheran University's Marketing and Communication site or interning at MOViN 92.9's morning talk show in Seattle. Other places to find her content include: Alaska Airlines blog and website, The News Tribune and The Bremerton Harald.