Roanoke College senior Tina Wattley has a lot on her plate. Wattley, a biology major who hails from the Caribbean, is a resident advisor, an intern in Roanoke’s Health Services, holds two campus jobs and is involved in numerous college organizations.
She’s also the senior class officer, a role that transforms her into a cheerleader, communicator and primary fundraiser for Roanoke’s senior class.
Wattley is responsible for informing her fellow classmates about all things senior, from Commencement details to celebratory events. She’s spending her last few weeks at Roanoke encouraging seniors to donate money to the College’s senior class gift program.
Wattley is quick to talk about the ways her Roanoke experience has paid off for her. Once she accepts her diploma in May, she’s headed to the Jefferson College of Health Science in Roanoke for its accelerated bachelor of nursing program. Wattley eventually wants to become a registered nurse and specialize in women’s health care.
“My relationship with the biology department prepared me,” she said. “I have a concentration in health care delivery and a minor in Spanish, so just my entire package here at Roanoke, I’m pretty sure that’s what they [Jefferson College] saw.”
Wattley recently talked about the purpose of the senior class gift program and its goals and her own Roanoke experiences.
RC News Blog: What is the senior class gift program and what does the money fund?
Tina Wattley: The senior gift program is part of the Roanoke Fund, which is the annual fundraising program for the College. If you’ve ever used anything on campus, whether it’s the library catalog or you’ve walked through [campus] on the pavers…certain things that seniors use every day. When it’s sunny, you can lay out on the lawn. If you’re a science [major], you usually have lab equipment that you need. The senior class gift goes to all of that.
Unfortunately, tuition only covers about 50 percent of what it actually costs to go here, so we have other ways of raising money so that everyone can have a really good Roanoke College experience.
RC News Blog: What are this year’s fundraising and senior participation goals? Are you close to meeting these goals?
Tina Wattley: We’re trying to have 40 percent participation, and the dollar amount [goal] would be about $2,000. We’re not looking basically at the dollar amount, but more the participation so it can increase the value of your education overall. I know for national rankings they look at the participation rate for how many alumni or students give back to their communities.
We’re asking for $20.13 [per senior], as the standard, and it looks good, because we graduate in 2013. We’re trying to meet a $2,000 dollar amount goal, but if we get seniors participating at 40 percent, we’ll have $6,000.
We have a challenge grant from senior parents. For every dollar that you give, it’s going to be tripled, so your gift of $20.13 would be $60.39 and that would help out.
[As of April 10] 11 percent of the senior class has participated. The dollar amount raised is $791 so far. Right now, if every senior gives $10, that will get us to our goal.
RC News Blog: What kinds of incentives are available for seniors if they decide to give to this program?
Tina Wattley: If you give before April 17, you have the opportunity of making a tribute in the Commencement booklet. If you want to give [in honor or in memory of] your family or your significant other or friends, that will actually show up in the book. If you’re going to make your gift after April 17, then your tribute will just go on the Roanoke website.
Also, if you give your gift [by May 1], you will be entered into a drawing for a Pandora bracelet.
One more thing, if you also give a gift [by April 25], you’ll be entered into a drawing where you can get up to six reserved seats at graduation. [The seats are located under the Bittle Tree and near the stage ramp.] It’s going to be a really good view.
RC News Blog: Why do you think that giving to Roanoke is important as a senior?
Tina Wattley: For me, besides knowing that I received scholarships coming here, also I was able to use lab equipment in the bio department. I’m a resident advisor, too, and I know in the dorms, it’s always nice to have a really good dorm…All of this money helps to make that possible.
RC News Blog: What will you miss about your Roanoke experience after you graduate?
Tina Wattley: I would say it’s the connections that I’ve made with faculty and my friends. Coming from the Caribbean, it’s a long way from home. I usually don’t go home until big breaks, long breaks, like Christmas break and summer break. I’ve had the opportunity to meet professors who have offered that “if you can’t go home, you can stay with me for a week.”
If I went someplace else, I probably never would have had that. Although it [Roanoke] was a different climate, and it was a different environment for me, I always felt a sense of home here.
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