Seniors: Voting for 2014 class gift begins Oct. 14

October 08, 2013

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Next week Penn State seniors will have an opportunity to determine their class legacy by voting for one of three options as their gift to the University.

The voting period begins Monday, Oct. 14, and ends Friday, Oct. 18, at 5 p.m. Seniors can vote starting Oct. 14 either online at or in person, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day, on the ground floor of the HUB. Ballots, pledge sheets and gift descriptions will be available at the HUB and online. Students graduating in May, August or December 2014 are eligible to vote and donate to this year’s senior class gift. In addition, seniors who pledge by Oct. 18 will gain an additional vote.

"The class gifts safeguard the history of the University and embody the students that the gifts represent," said senior Katia Esarey, 2014 class gift committee chair. "The program also supports graduating seniors in taking their first philanthropic steps -- encouraging us to always give back to our Dear Old State -- while also supporting future students."

After careful consideration, the 2014 Senior Class Gift Committee has selected the following three proposals for the final ballot, chosen from more than 150 submitted by Penn State students, faculty and staff: the Heritage Tree Endowment, the Penn State Center for Counseling and Psychological Services Endowment, and the HUB Green Roof Terrace.

-- The Heritage Tree Endowment will preserve the beauty and unique character of the University Park campus through the creation of an endowment to protect trees that have special historical, cultural or aesthetic value and are designated as Penn State Heritage Trees. The University would recognize the gift by transplanting on to campus a fourth-generation descendant of “Old Willow,” a landmark tree planted soon after Penn State admitted its first class of students in 1859, by Professor of Horticulture William G. Waring. Members of the senior class of 2014 could enjoy watching this tree grow as they return to campus again and again throughout their lives, while the endowment provides permanent funds to protect and nurture the University's Heritage Trees.

"Our trees embody the rich history of our university and represent its promise for the future," said Esarey. "Planting 'New Willow' would restore a historic campus landmark and serve as a fitting tribute to the senior class’ belief in Penn State’s bright future and their commitment to ensure that future through philanthropy."

-- Penn State’s Center for Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) provides a vital service by helping students manage a range of personal and mental health challenges. College is an exciting time for many students, but the daily challenges of college life and young adulthood can be stressful. The CAPS endowment would ensure that the center could provide after-hours counseling and crisis support to students, allowing them to call at any hour of the evening or night and meet with a counselor if needed. Such flexibility is important since regular appointments fill quickly and can be difficult to obtain when students need them most. By creating a permanent, annual source of funding to support CAPS, the senior class of 2014 could help ensure that Penn State students can benefit from expansive, easily accessible counseling services for years to come.

"While CAPS has secured funding to continue after-hours counseling through the 2013-2014 academic year, there is no guarantee that funding will be available in future years -- or even next year," Esarey said. "CAPS would extend a helping hand to students in need, offer a lifeline to students in crisis, and allow future generations of students to enjoy the peace of mind that comes from reliable, effective counseling services."

-- The HUB Green Roof Terrace, part of the current HUB expansion and renovation, provides an opportunity to fund the construction of an open-air rooftop terrace. Space in the HUB is often limited, and the new terrace would provide additional seating as well as expanded room for organizational programming. This green space would help advance sustainable architecture and design on campus. It would also provide several key environmental benefits, including reducing the heat island affect that traditional roofs create, allowing for better management of storm water and creating a new habitat for plants, birds and insects.

"For many Penn Staters, the HUB is at the very center of college life -- it provides a home base on a large campus, a comfortable location to meet friends and classmates, and an always-lively slice of campus life," said Esarey. "This gift would create an inviting new space for community-building and enhance the beauty of our campus for years to come."

The voting results will be announced at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 23, in Heritage Hall on the second floor of the HUB. The entire Penn State community is invited to attend.

"It is an honor to lead this amazing and important tradition at our alma mater," said Esarey, "and I am excited to see how our class will choose to express itself for future Penn Staters."

The 2014 Senior Class Gift Committee includes Katia Esarey, overall chair; Danae Blasso, communications chair; Marcy Herr, student relations chair; Devron Lovick, gift development chair; Lucas Sobchack, fundraising chair; Heather Wolfe, events chair; and Lotus Zhou, marketing chair.

Follow up-to-the-minute senior class gift information on Facebook ( or @PSUSeniors on Twitter.
For more information on senior class gifts, visit Questions can be directed to Katia Esarey at, or Geoff Hallett at or 814-865-0198.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated October 09, 2013