Volume 74, Issue 6
October 11, 2002

Senior class gift ambitious in scope

Laura Walter

Soon students will have a new place to study, hang out, or simply sit and think.

Senior class officers and faculty members are currently seeking funding and student involvement to construct this year's senior class gift, a stage structure and pergola, which will be built behind the O'Neill Literary House.

This senior class gift is perhaps the most ambitious in Washington College's history. The structure will consist of a raised stage area bordered by a semi-circular wall. The wall can seat 18-20 students and is ideal for outdoor classes, poetry readings, or other functions.

A pergola will complete the structure.

The backyards of the Literary House and Foster House will accommodate the senior class gift. The stage and pergola will be built between two large magnolia trees.

Class gift coordinator Shane Brill comments on the location's aesthetic qualities: "It's in a shady spot where light filters through the trees above with a gentle charm--the whole area has a nice feeling to it."

Currently, Brill, the class officers, Professor Robert Mooney, Professor Kathy Wagner, and Vice President of the Administration Joe Holt are working with architect Peter Newlin of Chesapeake Architects to plan the structure's placement and construction. Construction is expected to begin in the spring, and the senior class gift should be completed approximately three weeks prior to graduation.

The entire project's estimated cost is about $20,000. The O'Neill Literary House contributed $3,000 to the class gift. Mooney fully supports the project: "Its beauty and function will certainly fit well with the essence of the Lit House and its spirit. It will be a wonderful way to remember, in perpetuity, a wonderful class."

The Class of 2003 must still raise about $15,000. Besides the senior T-shirt sales and the Adopt-a-Senior Fundraiser, class officers plan to organize other fundraisers.

Amy Milauskas, Senior Class Treasurer, hopes to organize a bingo night. She also describes the upcoming Scratch Off Fundraiser: "Students scratch off donations ranging from $1-3. If students choose to scratch off two or more, they will receive raffle tickets to win a gift certificate."

The Class of 2003 is also producing a desk calendar that includes a photograph of nearly every senior arranged in a collage with classmates in the month that they were born. Brill hopes family and friends of seniors will opt to make a donation in exchange for the calendar, which he calls "a keepsake of our WC experience for years to come."

He also adds that students themselves may be able to reduce the cost of the class gift: "If students have any ideas for improving the gift, or have connections to related material or human resources, that could benefit us greatly. Because of the scope of the project, the more that students get involved, the better."

Senior class vice president Sean Askham says "It would be great to get more of our class involved. We need help, and we need money."

"Right now, only five students are really involved in this," Askham continues. "We would feel better knowing we can count on 45 people to work on this project." The senior class officers plan to rely on student labor to reduce the costs of building the pergola.

Brill encourages students to add whatever they can to the project. "We're looking for feedback," he says. "This is a great opportunity for everyone to get involved. This is for anyone who can envision a concept and wants to make it happen."

Brill adds, "The faculty, staff, and administration have been incredibly supportive of the senior class gift. From the beginning they have provided guidance, enthusiasm, and unfaltering dedication to help us achieve a gift of this magnitude."

Senior class president Beka Beckett is also excited about the Class Gift: "We're trying to create a relaxed area on campus used for many purposes-picnics, Writers' Theatre productions, classes, poetry readings, and barbeques."

"This is a chance to benefit the school as a whole," Askham adds. "We can leave something that the college can actually use."

Seniors are encouraged to visit the class website to view plans for the class gift and respond with feedback: http://classof2003.washcoll.edu.