Students Raise Funds for Research Opportunity

April 18, 2014

A new Student Philanthropy Campaign at Harvey Mudd College is providing funding to a crucial area of the College’s teaching/learning experience: summer research.

As part of an effort to highlight the importance of philanthropy and to encourage student giving toward a common goal, the Associated Students of Harvey Mudd College (ASHMC) recently completed the second annual Student Philanthropy Campaign. An ASHMC-appointed committee first gathered student input about potential projects of interest then conducted a student-wide vote that selected summer experiential learning as this year’s focus. Increasing opportunities for students to participate in summer research is not only important to students, but it is also a major priority within the College’s recently launched comprehensive campaign.

The specific goal was to raise enough funding to provide a stipend to support a fellow student in an extended, formal summer experience of faculty-mentored research or supervised involvement in a community-based service project.

Setting out to exceed last year’s participation rate of 36.2 percent, the students mounted a focused, two-week campaign to raise funds and meet a matching gift challenge presented by the Alumni Association Board of Governors. In all, the students contributed $2,360.52 and increased participation by nearly 10 percent, achieving 45.5 percent participation from all classes combined (with first-year students exceeding 50 percent participation). These results triggered an alumni match of $1,645.36 and additional support from faculty, staff and friends, to bring the total for the student campaign to $5,566.88. These funds will provide a full stipend for one student to participate in research this summer.

“One of the factors in my decision to come to Mudd was the engagement faculty have with students and the opportunity to perform research side by side with the faculty,” says Josh Sanz ’15, chair of the Student Philanthropy Committee. “I’m excited that the student body has elected to support a campaign priority that encourages such an important reason why I am happy to be a Mudder.”

“Collaborating with a faculty mentor can be one of the most rewarding experiences of a Harvey Mudd education,” said Karl Haushalter, associate dean for research and experiential learning and associate professor of chemistry and biology. “It is gratifying to see the students recognize the value of summer research and give generously to the College so that more students can have the opportunity to participate.”

The Student Philanthropy Campaign also included some friendly competition between the dorms: Linde Residence Hall had the highest increase in participation over last year and won a pizza party. North Dorm and Sontag Residence Hall tied for the second highest increase in participation, and each will enjoy a taco party.

Historically, the most important source of funding for experiential learning has been the National Science Foundation, with private foundations also providing significant grants for the summer research program and community engagement. Nearly 40 percent of all summer research opportunities are funded through external foundation or grant support.

Gifts from individual donors, either through endowments or annual gifts, are an increasingly important source of funding for summer research because these gifts are not restricted to specific projects and can help fill in the gaps between student interest and the funding on hand. During each of the past two summers (2012 and 2013), nearly 200 Harvey Mudd students participated in summer research.

Learn more about The Campaign for Harvey Mudd College.