Raffle changes, and so does Oct. 21 raffle free day

Project shifts from on-campus activities to letter writing

At+the+start+of+this+year%27s+fundraiser%2C+students+received+emails+with+information+about+how+the+campaign+would+change+due+to+Covid-19.

Photo submitted from screenshot

At the start of this year’s fundraiser, students received emails with information about how the campaign would change due to Covid-19.

Tory Basile, Reporter

Philanthropy has been an enduring mission at this school for many years, with one of the most impactful endeavors being the Luck of the Leprechaun student raffle. 

In years past, students sold raffle tickets in the hopes of each student raising at least $250 toward tuition assistance for students who needed it, and then were rewarded with dress down days and an extra day of fall break.

Those students who were unable to earn their money had to attend school on the raffle free day for a service project, with the intention that these students would fulfill their philanthropic requirements in this way.

This year, the Luck of the Leprechaun fundraiser operated differently for the sake of Covid-19 safety. The philanthropic efforts that would have taken place in person or on paper with raffle tickets were restricted to a digital platform, in which students could share a link to their fundraising site with those who might donate.

Because of these Covid safety measures, the service day, scheduled for Oct. 21, for individuals who do not raise all of their money was destined to change as well. 

Mrs. Jean E. Smith ‘97, director of philanthropic engagement, outlined how the program is working toward limiting in-person contact for safety purposes. Rather than having students volunteer at elementary schools or listen to guest speakers as they have in years past, Smith said students this year will “be working on a project where they’re sending handwritten letters to members of our various service branches.” 

The project is connected to the Bert Show, a radio show with which Mr. Howard Fogel is associated. According to Smith, the show hosts a program called “The Big Thank You” in which thank you letters are collected to give to service members during the holiday season. Students who do not meet their fundraising requirements had until Oct. 16 to submit 25 handwritten letters to earn their philanthropic credit as well as their day off. 

While Smith realizes that many perceive the service requirement negatively, she emphasized that it is “absolutely not” meant to punish those students who do not meet their goal. She instead sees the day off as an incentive to reward those students who do hit the $250 benchmark.

Smith said, “About 80% of our student body is able to meet their requirement through the fundraising goal, and then another 20% fulfills their requirement through (service).” Smith reflected further, saying, “We understand that everyone can’t fulfill their philanthropy requirement (financially, because) everyone has different access to people and that sort of thing.

“We do hope that everyone at least tries, because that’s a pivotal part of our fundraising in terms of tuition assistance. It’s not a punishment if you can’t hit that, we just (require) an alternate form of philanthropy.”

Ultimately, Smith’s outlook on the raffle free day is a positive one. She noted that the student body should realize the importance of helping their fellow students and their shared responsibility for one another. 

She said, “We really want to think holistically in terms of giving your time, treasure and talent as ways to be philanthropic. We want you all to be citizens of the world in that way, and be able to give in whatever capacity that you can.”