My first question after reading this had nothing to do with alumni giving. I had to wonder, were the Homecoming King and Queen candidates told about their responsibilities as co-chairs of this committee before they were nominated? I hope this didn't come as a shock to the victorious couple. "Congratulations on winning. Hope you enjoyed meeting Jimmy Fallon. By the way, you now have to cajole all the seniors for some cash."
I also noted the stark contrast between Hofstra's expectations and those of some other schools. Hofstra is shooting for a $4,400 total gift and 20 percent participation, and as the headline suggests, some seniors weren't even aware of the campaign's existence. Four months ago, a few different sources (MetaEzra, Chronicle of Higher Education, The New York Times) ran pieces about more ambitious goals set by Cornell and Dartmouth. In the case of the Big Green, the pressure was sufficient to obtain contributions from every senior save one, which jeopardized a large gift from Dartmouth's Class of 1960. At Cornell, one source of pressure securing donations was the Greek system (which has a significantly bigger influence on the social scene there than at Hofstra). At both those Ivy League schools, there has been a move toward shaming those who don't donate. I'm not sure whether those kinds of tactics would move me to donate. I tend to be of the same mind as Mr. Nagowski in the MetaEzra post linked above - that is to say, there remains ability to earmark a gift and to withhold one if desired. Thus, if you really don't want to donate, you remain free to do so regardless of the quantity and style of pressure applied to you.
One more thing on Hofstra: its alumni affairs director said the senior class gift boosts Hofstra's rankings. It's a bit surprising and somewhat refreshing to see a college's representative openly admit that rising in the surveys was desirable, as opposed to some other schools who say their position in the USN&WR standings doesn't matter.
The timing of my discovery of this article was fortuitous. As I was beginning to read it last night, I took a call from a current member of the Big Red Marching Band, and in particular Da Bones. We chatted for a few minutes, and during the course of the conversation, I pledged one hundred dollars to the band. This donation could be said to be more voluntary, in that I specifically game my contact information and asked to be called last night; it was the first time that I had been so solicited, and last night, I confirmed my suspicion as to why. The contact information cards are provided by Cornell's alumni office. Since I didn't graduate, I'm guessing they never got my info. On the bad side, this meant that the band never called for money; on the good side, this means that Cornell's general fund has stayed off my butt. It remains to be seen if that will change in the future; if it does, I won't necessarily rule out giving to CU as a whole.
As for the title of this post - in the background of last night's phone conversation, someone was loudly quoting Rod Tidwell. I mentioned that I was pretty sure the BRMB wouldn't be hitting up Tom Cruise.