New program lets students allocate $100,000 of alumni donations



By Melanie Curry

A new program lets students decide where to allocate $100,000 of alumni donations starting Nov. 12.

The new initiative, Voice Your Choice, is designed to give students more say in the allocation of alumni donations, according to Jillian Naimo, assistant director of annual giving. Naimo said the president and the chairman of the Board of Trustees originally brought up the idea of the Voice Your Choice Program. Naimo said the Trustees wanted students more involved.

“I think that rather than a bunch of people sitting around saying, the students want to do this, they want to do [that], I went to the students and asked them what is it that you want to do,” Naimo said.

Students can vote their designated funds into five areas of support: student access, academic innovation, community and co-curricular experiences, global initiatives, and the Emerson Fund. Voting will take place on the college’s website.

Each class receives a portion of the $100,000 to allocate and votes on a different day between Nov. 12-15. On the first day, the class of 2022 votes on $10,000. Class of 2021 votes to allocate $15,000 on the second day. The class of 2020 votes an allocation of $25,000 on the third day. On the final day, the class of 2019 votes to designate $50,000.

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Naimo said each class gets more money because of experience. Naimo said the longer students attend Emerson, the more they’re able to see whether funds need allocation to Student Access or Global Initiatives.

An additional vote will take place in the spring where each class decides which specific funds within the five areas they would like to support, according to the college’s website. After the college totals the votes, the alumni donation dollars will go directly to the funds with the highest number of votes, the website states.

Junior Brian Peterson said students appreciate the Voice Your Choice program.  

“I think Emerson students are knowingly outspoken. We’re very known for that,” junior Brian Petterson said. “I think [if] you give us a vote and a chance to say anything, we’re gonna make the most of it and have our voices heard.”

Junior Abigail Sockett agreed the Voice Your Choice program would cater to students’ desire for involvement and advocacy. However, Sophomore Maya O’Day said she only heard of the program during a class of hers, and criticized the lack of advertisement.

“They have not gotten the word out,” O’Day said. “I think they should send emails out; they should have announcements, all that kinda stuff.”

Sockett never heard nor saw any advertisements for the Voice Your Choice program.

“More flyers in more places,” Sockett suggested. “There are plenty of Facebook groups all across the Emerson community in different graduating classes.”

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