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An artist’s ren­dering of the memorial fountain which was the Class of 2019’s senior gift to the college. Ryan Kelly Murphy | Courtesy

The legacy board, a student-led ini­tiative facil­i­tated by the alumni office, will be taking over the senior gift process usually led by the senior class officers. 

Fiona Shea, assistant director of student and young alumni pro­grams, said the goal of the legacy board is to promote class unity and assist in cre­ating a class story through a gift.

“It’s an ini­tiative based on giving back,” Shea said. “The stu­dents have a strong sense of what they’ve been given and what they’re grateful for.”

In pre­vious years, the student elected to the position of senior fundraising chair has been respon­sible for planning and fundraising for the class gift. Starting with the class of 2021, the legacy board will expand the amount of time stu­dents think about a class gift by bringing stu­dents into the process earlier.

“It’s dif­ficult to put pressure on one person to try to unite the entire class,” Shea said. “We want to get dif­ferent voices from all corners of campus.”

Although all the members of the legacy board are seniors this year, Shea said the goal is to even­tually choose stu­dents at the end of sophomore year so that the team will have two full years to plan and fundraise for a gift.

The board con­sists of seven seniors who were nom­i­nated by faculty, staff, coaches, or deans.

Senior class pres­ident Braden VanDyke said senior class officers will work with the legacy board throughout the year and help in hosting fundraising events.

“We will help channel and direct their efforts while allowing them to be the main engine that gives energy to the process,” VanDyke said.

He added that the legacy board is a branch of the 1844 Society, which itself is an extension of the alumni office. The alumni office offers insti­tu­tional support and fundraising expertise to the class gift.

“This new format will better rep­resent the entirety of campus and allow for a more thorough and well thought-out process that focuses its energy entirely on the senior class gift, a big facet of our legacy at Hillsdale College,” VanDyke said.

 Liana Guidone is the social chair for the senior class as well as a legacy board member. She said the senior class officers and legacy board members will combine to make a strong team.

 “We want the gift to be ben­e­ficial for more than just our class,” Guidone said. “But we also want our senior class to be excited about giving it.”

  Kate Ford, a senior on the legacy board, said she appre­ciates the oppor­tunity to meet new people. 

 “I think it’s a really great way to connect all corners of campus and come together as a cohesive class to decide on what we want our legacy to be,” Ford said. “It’s a really nice way to get in touch with people that I wouldn’t nec­es­sarily have gotten to know before and to have all voices heard.”

 Ford said the board has already chosen the senior gift, which will be unveiled to the current senior class early next semester. The board has chosen a fundraising goal and is con­fident it can be reached.

 “I think the gift will com­mu­nicate that we’re indebted to Hillsdale and that we honor and respect and want to uphold our tra­di­tions,” Ford said.