The University”s Class of 2001 faces stiff competition from Michigan State University seniors this week as the intrastate rivals duke it out to raise the larger senior gift.

Paul Wong
Engineering freshmen Bobby Owens and Andika Powell make calls for Michigan Telefund yesterday.<br><br>ELLIE WHITE/Daily

While every senior class since the early 1980s has contributed a gift to the University, this is the first time Michigan seniors will compete with Michigan State”s graduating class. The winners of the competition, which is put on by Michigan Telefund and sponsored by the University Credit Union and the Michigan State Federal Credit Union, will receive a $1,000 grant for that university”s general scholarship fund.

Michigan Telefund began calling seniors yesterday. They hope to reach 3,500 students.

Donating over the phone is not the only way seniors can contribute. Any senior who would like to can make his or her contribution online. The calling will continue through Feb. 11, but the competition with Michigan State seniors does not officially end until March 30.

Leigh Sanderson, the Michigan Telefund program manager in charge of the senior challenge, cautions students that “Michigan State is already ahead to date, so we really need to get moving. We can beat State by having a higher percentage of participating seniors, I am pretty confident.”

Brian Griffin, assistant director of annual giving at Michigan State, said he is equally optimistic. “I think it is going to be a great competition, hopefully we can keep our lead.”

Although the chance to compete with a rival university is incentive enough for many University seniors to dig into their pockets, giving is important, said Sanderson, because “students” contributions will go to the school within the University from which they are graduating.

“The money goes to an annual scholarship fund which provides student oriented services and resources,” Sanderson added.

“The College of Engineering plans to use the money for a brass wolverine sculpture which will be placed near the reflecting pool on North Campus. It will be the only outdoor wolverine on campus.”

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