While Senior Gift officials say they are on track to a record-breaking total this year, the Alternative Senior Gift (ASG) has had less success, receiving only 20 donations thus far.
Co-founded by Josh Edelman '00 and Greg A Novak '00, the ASG encourages students to donate to public service organizations rather than, or in addition to, the College.
"I would never say that Harvard is not a worthy cause, but there are plenty of charities out there that are much more needy," Edelman said.
Edelman said the low response rate is not because Harvard students don't care about their communities. Instead, he said, undergraduates' existing community service commitments, and ASG's limited resources for publicity and collection might have reduced participation.
With its roughly 1 percent participation rate, the ASG has raised $1,127 for organizations such as UNICEF and Get Ready, a program to help underprivileged students prepare for the SAT exam.
In contrast, 59 percent of seniors have already donated to the senior gift, according to Harvard College Fund Associate Director Dana F. Picardi.
This year's participation rate is expected to surpass last year's record-setting 60 percent. Last year the Senior Gift raised $68,036.
Edelman said he is not surprised by the disparity.
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