Despite its original timeframe of five years, The Campaign for Boston University has already passed its halfway mark less than one year in, as BU fundraising officers have worked together to raise more than $500 million of the project’s total $1 billion goal.
In addition to the monetary goals, the student body’s pledge to donate one million hours of community service has also progressed significantly, as students have donated about 300,000 hours of community service thus far, said College of Communication junior Dexter McCoy, who was Student Government president when the Campaign was launched.
“We’re estimating that there are about 50,000 to 100,000 hours still yet to be documented from things such Alternative Spring Break and other students’ projects over the course of this year,” he said. “In terms of us still having about four and a half years left in this campaign, we are very confident in reaching our mark of one million hours.”
On Sept. 21, BU officials announced the Campaign’s goal is to raise $1 billion over five years to be allocated to different services around campus. The fundraiser’s endpoint is set for 2017.
In conjunction with the Campaign, SG officials announced it would donate one million hours of community service, which the administration would value at minimum hourly wage of $8 to incorporate the service into the fundraising.
“I, of course, would have hoped that more people would start documenting their hours more and making a habit of it,” McCoy said. “That just means that this coming year, we will have to do more in terms of promoting the million-hours program and letting people know how to document their hours and where.”
McCoy said students should continue to perform community service during the summer.
BU Vice President of Development and Alumni Relations Scott Nichols said the funds raised will be primarily allocated to providing students with financial aid and to building construction and renovation.
“The biggest pieces are financial aid, professorships, buildings, research programs and operating support,” Nichols said. “Every school [college within BU] has its own subset of goals, but these are found in almost all of the individual goals.”
Fundraising is being conducted in many ways, Nichols said. He said various subsets of the BU community, ranging from academic deans to students, have been tapped as a resource to raise money toward the $1 billion goal.
“[BU] President [Robert Brown], trustees, deans, development officers and many others have spent the past years building good relations with alumni, parents and friends,” Nichols said. “Now that we are in the Campaign, we are asking everyone to support the Campaign in whatever way they can, be it large or small contributions.”
Nichols said the amount of money raised thus far has been more than university officials ever imagined.
“This is Boston University’s first comprehensive fundraising campaign,” he said. “It is going very well and we are most encouraged by the responsem especially by our trustees, overseers, alumni, parents and friends. We have a long way to go but the progress so far makes us confident we can succeed.”
Alicia Panetta, a College of Arts and Sciences senior, said donations should not come from students or students’ parents.
“BU should not ask parents at all because they already are paying $200,000 to send their children here,” Panetta said. “They [BU fundraising officials] could also host more events and conferences to raise money for BU instead of just reaching out for donations.”
She said the majority of the Campaign’s funds should be from major corporations and from BU alumni looking to give back to their alma mater.
“They should get most of their money from alumni, and corporations are pretty good places to get money, too,” she said. “Corporations would be a good idea because it would help the school a lot more and make connections for students post-graduation.”
Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences junior Christopher Gioffre also said BU officials and those affiliated with the Campaign should try to focus on reaching out to alumni.
“BU is raising the money the right way, since they have already raised so much,” Gioffre said.
COM sophomore Hayley Lukaczyk said the school should focus on renovating buildings on campus.
“The money should be going to Mugar [Memorial Library],” Lukaczyk said. “Of all of our buildings Mugar needs to be highlighted as the center of student life. If you look at other buildings around campus and then at Mugar, it is embarrassing. The library is very outdated, you think it would be one of the first buildings to get updated.”
Margaret Waterman contributed to the reporting of this article.