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100 Percent of Santa Fe's Senior Class Donates to Campus Energy Audit

May 17, 2019 | By Kimberly Uslin

The Senior Legacy Committee watches CFO Mike Duran sign the energy audit contract, partially paid for by their Senior Legacy Gift.

For the fourth time ever in Santa Fe's recorded giving history, 100 percent of the senior class has given a donation to implement their Senior Class Legacy Gift. Each of the 70 undergraduates in Santa Fe’s Class of 2019 made a contribution to help with the completion of an energy audit of the college’s electric, gas, water, and solar energy use on their campus.

“For the Class of 2019, the Energy Audit Project provides an opportunity to show the college how important the issue of sustainability is to the student body and encourage efforts to reduce our carbon footprint, lower operating costs, and consider options of solar energy,” wrote the Class of 2019 giving officers on their GiveCampus fundraising page. “When we show the college that we’re committed to this project through our participation and giving, the administration will bring the energy auditors here this spring and invest at least $100,000 to implement recommendations, so we will begin to see the impact of our gift even before graduation.”

Seniors pose in front of a Freeing Minds banner at the graduating student reception.

Though their donation will not pay for the entire audit, it is a critical step in realizing the project. The senior gifts joined others by staff members, faculty, alumni, and parent donors, and its impact is doubled by the Winiarski Family Foundation match as part of the Freeing Minds campaign. The audit will inform the college’s campus maintenance and improvement plans, which are currently in development as part of the capital campaign.

“The audit will cost just under $30,000, and the remainder will be coming out of the operating budget of the college,” says Kelsey Miller (A10), senior alumni engagement and giving officer at St. John’s, who oversaw the gift. “By choosing that gift, the seniors were ensuring that auditors will come on to campus before the end of the academic year.”

This week, St. John’s College CFO Mike Duran signed the audit contract with Engineering Economics, Inc. (EEI). After its completion, the college has pledged to make at least $100,000 in sustainable development and maintenance improvements on campus.

“It’s my understanding that there was talk about doing this sometime in the future, but our class helped bring it about,” says Hannah Mattingly (SF19), who served on the Senior Legacy Committee. “This is something that will affect not just the students who are here right now, or our senior class, but will hopefully open up a road for large changes for the whole community that will affect St. John’s and the surrounding community for years to come.”

Dean Sterling and President Roosevelt both pledged to make personal donations if the class reached 75 percent and 100 percent participation, respectively. 

The project wasn’t just popular among the senior class, however. The gift was also supported by Dean Walter Sterling (A93), who pledged a personal gift of $750 contingent on 75 percent participation from the class. That was quickly realized, and President Mark Roosevelt upped the stakes. If the senior class reached 100 percent participation by May 17, he said, he’d personally donate $1,000 to their efforts. 

They did it by the 14th—and at the Senior Dinner on May 15, he announced that he would be increasing his gift to $2,500. 

“It is spectacular that the senior class achieved 100 percent participation,” says President Roosevelt. “It is equally spectacular that they have engaged in being a constructive catalyst to moving the campus forward on sustainability by dedicating their funds to the upcoming comprehensive energy audit. We are committed to moving forward with this project and implementing as many of the recommendations as possible.”