13:30 PM

Steps Magazine | Leaving Their Mark, Seniors Give Back

Senior business major Marco Lemus is challenging his classmates to show their Cougar pride and give back to Cal State San Marcos. “This campus has given so much to us as students,” he said, “it’s important that we give a little back.”Since 2010 he has served on the CSUSM Foundation Board as its student representative. The Foundation Board promotes and stewards private support for the advancement of the University.“Sitting on the board has been an eye-opening experience. I’ve gotten a behind-the-scenes look at the reasons why private support is so crucial to our University,” he said. “As a student, I wanted to find a way to make even more of an impact. I wanted to help spread the word to my fellow students that our University needs our help.”That’s when Marco, with the support of CSUSM’s division of University Advancement, created a student committee of 12 students and a staff advisor to run the Senior Class Gift Campaign. Together they are reaching out to graduating seniors, hoping to inspire a record-breaking number of donations.“The senior class gift has been in place for four years now,” commented Associate Director of Annual Programs Sean Briner, “but this is really the first time that a group of students has taken true ownership of the campaign.”The students created an inspiring video and kicked off the fundraising drive with a special event called “Thank CSUSM Day” in February. Suggesting a gift of $20.12 in honor of the class year, each undesignated donation goes toward creating an emergency fund for students who encounter an unforeseen financial crisis. Students may also choose to allocate their gift to a college or program special to them.“It’s not always easy convincing a student to give,” said Marco. “There have been budget cuts and tuition increases, but I tell them that if it weren’t for the donations from others we wouldn’t have a university. Markstein Hall, Kellogg Library and many of the buildings and resources we use today are here because somebody else has helped contribute something to our campus. It’s a privilege to attend school here. Now it’s our turn to leave our mark and give back.”Thanks to generous donations totaling $4,000 from the Coastal Community Foundation and CSUSM alums Scott Clark (96), Brent & Denise Wells (99/97) and Fifty Barrels Winery Group, Tony Constable (03) and Erik Groset (08), every gift made to the Senior Class Gift Campaign to support the Student Emergency Fund will be matched dollar for dollar up to a total of $4,000.“$20.12 might seem like a small amount but it all adds up,” said Marco. “If even just ten percent of students give, that would be huge.”Learn more and watch a student-produced Senior Class Gift video: