On Monday, March 13, the Brandeis community received an email announcing the #1Gift1Vote Challenge, a fundraising campaign that gives members of the community an opportunity to show their “passion for a program that is the most meaningful” to them. Provost Lisa M. Lynch has made an unrestricted gift of $10,000 that students can choose how to apportion. This board commends the University for its initiative and Lynch for her commitment to this institution.

Every student who donates a minimum of $5 will receive one vote that can be cast for any of the six causes the University has chosen: ’DEIS Impact, General Scholarships, the Intercultural Center, the Green Fund (for Campus Sustainability), Brandeis Libraries and the Waltham Group. Lynch’s gift will be divided among these causes based on the number of votes each cause receives. The donations themselves can be delegated to any cause one chooses, such as any of the six previously stated causes, The Brandeis Fund, financial aid, an academic program, clubs or teams, among others. Anyone who has already donated to either the Senior Class Gift or any other Brandeis program this year will be sent a link to cast a vote.

This initiative is important to the Brandeis community for a number of reasons. This is the first fundraising initiative not targeted at only alumni and seniors but the entire student body, allowing students of different class years to participate. This creates a culture of giving back to the community.

The #1Gift1Vote Challenge also gives students a voice in the allocation of money, allowing them to show where their priorities lie. This will show the administration what the student body is interested in and what projects should receive more attention. It also increases student participation in University affairs; determining where money goes will provide an incentive for students to contribute to the causes they care about.

This board also applauds Lynch for her generous gift as well as the opportunity for students to choose where said money is allocated. The six causes provided are all worthy of extra funding, as they cover a variety of interests, including community service through the Waltham Group, financial aid through general scholarships and efforts to increase campus sustainability through The Green Fund. Allowing students to choose where the money is apportioned shows which initiatives are the most important and deemed most necessary for students.