Wear the SAIS Uniform


It is with great pride that my final article for The SAIS Observer is a call to give to the Class Gift. Over two years, SAIS has given each of us one of the best educations in the world, stimulated our intellect in newfound ways and opened doors to our future careers. It is time to give back for all we have received.

But I will not bore you with any more platitudes on why to give; those and answers to questions specific on how to give to our class gift, I have left for the end.

Instead, I want to share my personal motivation for giving: a poem, which every student at my high school was assigned to read. The McDonogh Uniform, published shortly after the school’s founding, addresses a mother who seeks a McDonogh School uniform for her son. The tailor, the voice of the poem, responds by saying they are not for sale; instead he highlights the virtues that every McDonogh student should exemplify upon graduation in order to receive a McDonogh uniform.

It is to many of these same virtues that SAIS calls us throughout our lifetimes, but the poem’s penultimate stanza highlights the most important virtue of all, and it describes what the Class Gift signifies to me. It should resonate with all SAISers:

“Our trade-mark is woven into every suit.
‘Tis a vow that each wearer must make,
How low or how high in the world he may be
‘We Give Something More Than We Take.’

After $90,000 in tuition and fees and facing a tough job market, it is easy to think we have already given so much to the school and that it is time for us to begin reaping the benefits of our SAIS degree.

In reality, however, we will never collect more than we give out. We must always provide for our communities, and we must always give back no matter our station in life or employment status. We must always strive to be “caretakers” of our institution – to give more not only to preserve but to enhance the institution for future generations. SAIS calls us to be caretakers of the world, to give something more than we take on a global scale; let us not forget to be caretakers of our institution as well.

The final stanza is a call to action:

Yet we have no weaver of magical skill,
Our tailor’s no Fairyland elf.
We’ve merely discovered that to wear such a suit
The wearer must make it himself.”

Giving back, being caretakers of our community does not happen automatically; and displaying these virtues is not something that can be bought. Instead, through our own action, we must display our commitment.  To truly wear the SAIS uniform and live up to the virtues to which SAIS calls us, we must make our SAIS uniform ourselves – individually and as a class.

So, it is to this call to action I exhort all SAISers: to make the SAIS uniform for themselves, to show they have woven their ideals into their identity and give more than we have taken by donating to the Class Gift.


Past Class Gift Amounts

Year Amount Raised Details
Class of 2007 $38,867 Fellowship
Class of 2008 $16,921 Fellowship
Class of 2011 $44,390 Julia Bachleitner Memorial Fellowship
Class of 2012 $15,895 Un-Dungeon the Basement Initiative
Class of 2013 $1,000 Emergency Medical Fund


If you still have doubts or objections about giving to this year’s class gift, I have tried to address some of the most common questions below.  Otherwise, please feel free to write me, The SAIS Observer or the SGA about anything further. The Class Gift is a defining aspect of any class, and it is essential for our class to represent itself as distinguished caretakers in the history of SAIS.

What is special about this year’s Class Gift?

For the first time in SAIS history, the Class Gift will include all members of any campus (DC, Bologna or Nanjing) of any degree (MA, MIPP or Ph.D.) who graduated in the academic year 2013-14. Previous years had their class gifts separated by campus, degree or between fall and spring. The impact of this year’s gift is strongest because it is unified.

What does ‘Give to Your Passion’ mean?

Typically the class gift is a restricted gift for a particular use, such as an endowed faculty chair, a scholarship, a new refrigerator, etc. However, many classes disagree about what the particular use should be. As a result, you have the ability to give to your passion, essentially to earmark where you would like your gift to help. If you want to give to the general annual fund, you can. If you want to give to the Bologna Center, you can. And if you want to give to The SAIS Observer, well, you can.

Additionally, if a class gift does not raise enough money for its restricted purpose, legally that money cannot be used for any other purpose, so it sits in an account and collects interest. By giving to the aspect of SAIS that you like the most, the 2014 Class Gift can avoid this issue and ensure the money can be spent how you want.

The 2014 Class Gift Can Be Matched!

It is even more important than most years to give to the Class Gift because a generous alumnus has agreed to match every dollar students contribute. If we raise $25,000 from student contributions, that means the Class of 2014 has actually raised $50,000 overall.


Parents and Other Employed Relatives Can Give on Your Behalf

If you are still unemployed, like me, you can ask your parents or someone else to give on your behalf, and it will count towards the 2014 gift.

Give and Win!

Finally, if you give by 11:59 PM EST next Tuesday, April, 29, you will be entered to win four VIP box seats at graduation.

So click here, and don the SAIS uniform to give more than we take.


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