As coordinator of Senior Challenge and a communication major with a concentration in journalism and media studies, Kristen Rathbun understands the importance of publicity.
Senior Challenge, established in 1987, successfully raises thousands of dollars each yearfor the College budget. The class of 2002 raised a record $27,887 and, among other things, donated a memorial to alumni who passed away on September 11. According to Rathbun, most seniors are still not as enthusiastic about the annual project as its accomplishments suggest, which she feels is due in part to the way past campaigns were run. "A big weakness of past campaigns is that they didn't start fund raising until Spring semester."
Rathbun, working as coordinator of the Senior Challenge for an internship, aspires to raise awareness and funds earlier than in previous years through a series of events. These events, such as raffles and free giveaways, raised $2,000 last semester. Upcoming events sponsored by Senior Challenge include a dodgeball tournament and Pizza Hut Night. Rathbun hopes her efforts will "break the mold that Senior Challenge is nerdy" and "change the face of Senior Challenge and communicate to the public that it's not just about fund-raising, but also about unifying as a class before you leave."
Seniors who participate will help Rathbun and her collaborators purchase a 15-foot presidential clock and award $1,000 in scholarships. Two scholarships will be awarded to members of each class based on leadership and students' contributions to campus. If the rewards are not enough incentive, participants have the option of making the donation in honor or name of someone who has impacted their lives. Or, if it's fame donors are after, Rathbun emphasized that those who donate "will be recognized in The Lamron, on our Web site, and at graduation."
She views Senior Challenge with optimism, hoping that students can raise $20,070 and reach a greater potential. "Senior Challenge is chance for me to commemorate my college career and preserve the best four years of my life," Rathbun said.
Rathbun applies the same optimism to other aspects of her life. The most valuable lesson she's taken away from Geneseo is to "enjoy yourself and have fun in everything that you do." Rathbun utilizes this lesson as a member of Musical Theater Club (MTC) and in her other interests as well: holidays, bright colors and food. She also described herself as "all about the 80s," citing Say Anything with John Cusack and the Broadway musical The Wedding Singer as some of her favorites.
In addition to Senior Challenge and MTC, Rathbun is an enthusiastic member of the Lamba Pi Eta Communications Honors Society as well as an advocate of studying abroad. During Spring semester of her junior year, Rathbun spent four months in Melbourne, traveling along the east coast of Australia. These travels provided her with unique opportunities, such as scuba diving, bungee jumping, seeing Steve Irwin, and hugging a dingo. The experience contributed to her "individuality, confidence, and overall world view," Rathbun said.
Rathbun advised students to take advantage of the same opportunities. "Get involved, find your niche, try everything that remotely interests you." She recommended students get involved as soon as possible to avoid putting it off or being intimidated by activities they would have otherwise enjoyed. Rathbun reiterated, "It's clean slate. Make it what you will."