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Gautam '12: Why I gave to Brown


My four years at Brown are coming to an end and, to all of my non-senior readers, I would like to remind you of the cliche advice about not taking your years at Brown for granted since they go by faster than one would like. I write to you today as not only a Brown student but also as the co-chair of the Senior Class Gift committee. Over the next few weeks, students will be hearing from me and other classmates working on our Senior Class Gift asking them to make whatever contributions they can. I wanted to pen my thoughts in favor of giving as someone who has benefited a lot from charitable Brown alumni.

I trust that most of you know the usual speech that goes with fundraising for a charitable institution, and I am not going to judge, take a moral high ground or repeat the same for fear of you rolling your eyes and skipping over this piece. 

Senior Gift is the start of a conversation with the graduating class about giving back to Brown in the coming decades so our University can continue to thrive. The gifts we make are directed through the Brown Annual Fund, which provides immediate funds for the University every year. Each year, the senior gifts made by the classes ahead of ours have helped sponsor financial aid, first-year seminars, UTRAs, library resources and have added to teaching resources. Think back to the first-year seminar you took freshman year. The professors went above and beyond to make the course topics interesting and made sure that we were included in classroom discussions. It was a great way to adjust to Brown life, improve upon writing and reading skills and make friends with other freshmen. Recall your freshman experiences, from going to FishCo on Wednesday night to first-year seminars to using the various library resources. I am sure our freshmen year experiences would not be the same without them. 

Like many of you, I have stayed in Providence over the summer and done research or worked in a lab at Brown. The research was always our own initiative, and we did it because we wanted to pursue a question in an area of our interest. Such research opportunities via UTRAs were possible due to the senior gift as well. Though I will not be a part of Brown next year - I am hoping to pass all my classes - I want to make sure future students have the same, if not better, opportunities than I did.

This is my senior year, and I cannot get enough of the wonderful learning platform Brown has provided me. I am also serving as a teaching assistant in two classes and contributing back to the classes as well. It has already been quite a hectic and sleepless semester, but I would not have it any other way.

In the past few paragraphs, I have come forward and shared some of my personal experiences at Brown, which are far less impressive than most of my readers who are leaders in their fields. I did this to make you look back and remember all the moments that were special as well. I have shared my own story of how others giving to Brown has helped me connect with students and professors who will be my friends for life and has helped shape who I am today. The little - it will always be too little, no matter the figure- I gave to Brown tripled this year because of anonymous donors who are matching every senior's gift three-to-one up to a class total $25,000 and a match total of $75,000. My gift also contributed to the goal of reaching 75 percent participation - the previous highest record was a mere 74.8 percent, which is  about 20 percent less than our unhappy Ivy peers, surprisingly - that earns our class and Brown another extra $25,000. Giving to Brown is one of the greatest financial investments I have made. 

Seniors, I humbly speak to you to also give back through our class' Brown Senior Gift. If for no other reason, give so that our class reaches its participation goal and sets a record. Let us show Brown how much we love it and that we are grateful to be here.



Manas Gautam '12 is a senior concentrating in Applied Mathematics and Economics. He can be reached at 



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