On December 14, lighthearted chatter filled Lobby 10 as nearly 400 graduate and undergraduate students took part in the first annual MIT “Punt & Hunt,” a fact-finding game about the impact of MIT’s worldwide community of annual donors. On the last day of classes, and before the start of exams, students took a breather to learn about the most popular programs, grants, and opportunities that alumni, parents, students, and friends support at MIT each year.

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To complete the hunt, students collected data from posters detailing how the Institute’s committed donors strengthen the core of MIT. Their giving fuels need-based undergraduate scholarships and funds fellowships that enable graduate students to pursue the work about which they’re passionate. With unrestricted gifts, donors also equip MIT with the flexibility to seize new opportunities and address unforeseen challenges. The data revealed that donors value programs that focus on students, from established resources like the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) to such new initiatives as MIT Sandbox and MindHandHeart. Several of the game’s participants expressed surprise upon learning how many of MIT’s generous annual donors are still students themselves—that last fiscal year, for example, 1,363 student donors funded their peers’ efforts to make a better world through six D-Lab Fieldwork Grants.

Moving from poster to poster, participants and passersby in Lobby 10 saw a fact-filled picture emerge of how their MIT experiences, and future MIT opportunities, are directly connected to the generosity of the Institute’s annual donors.

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