2010 Fund Supports Project, Community Outreach

Inspired by the 1831 fund, an NYU New York tradition that asks graduating students to donate $18.31 to a fund supporting incoming freshmen and transfer ...

Apr 18, 2015

Inspired by the 1831 fund, an NYU New York tradition that asks graduating students to donate $18.31 to a fund supporting incoming freshmen and transfer students, NYU Abu Dhabi’s 2010 fund was initiated in 2013 as a way for graduating classes to collectively give back to the Abu Dhabi community.
Members of a graduating class are asked to contribute to the fund by making standard donations of $20.10 or any other desired amount. Underclassmen and other members of the community are also welcome to contribute.
A total of $13,000 was collected by the class of 2014, with the participation rate at 75 percent of the student body as a whole. Last year’s funds were distributed among student projects dedicated to making a change in the community. This year, however, the fund also hopes to support students from NYUNY interested in studying abroad in Abu Dhabi.
The two projects that were selected by the committee this year were both led by freshmen. Hannah Taylor’s Autism Awareness Month project and Harshini Karunaratne’s Dare to Dream project were selected from a pool of five applications. Alumni Officer Prince Ralph Osei emphasized that the two projects were selected because of their feasibility and eagerness to involve NYUAD students.
“We were looking for projects that are feasible … so the class can see the impact their funds have made to the community,” said Osei. “The committee members did not want to just throw the money out but make the students go out in the field.”
While Taylor’s project started with various Autism Awareness events scattered throughout this month, Karunaratne’s project kicked off yesterday in collaboration with a comedy group based in Dubai, called Dubomedy. For Karunaratne, whose project relies heavily on funds for art supplies, the 2010 Fund was a great opportunity to extend an organization she began in Sri Lanka, her home country.
“Dare to Dream ... is an organization that provides people with the resources, spaces and tools to realize and pursue their dreams. It uses art as a tool to express one’s aspirations,” she said. “In Dubai, we did similar exercises with special needs children.”
Karunaratne emphasized the symbolic meaning of the fund for her.
“What is great about the 2010 Fund is that the funds come from the students themselves, and are used by the students for the greater community. This theme of a strong community revolves around the fund and is what makes it special,” she said.
Although the donations are on a purely voluntary basis, students who contribute are mentioned in an online page that is updated weekly.
“We have a place on the website where students who have contributed to the fund are mentioned. Moreover, this year we plan to write the names of donors on standing posters and keep them around during Commencement week,” commented Osei.
As of press time, 25 students from the class of 2015 had contributed to the fund. The committee has set an ambitious plan for a 100-percent participation rate this year and will be organizing a Giving Day to boost spirit among the graduating class before Commencement.
Senior Cleo Smits, a member of the 2010 Fund Committee, feels that the fund is a way for the class to make a collective gesture that commemorates their time at the university.
“I think the 2010 Fund is really important and I hope that my peers all donate to it before graduation. We have been given so much these past four years, and I see this as one small, but wonderful way to give a little back and to reach out further,” she said. “It is so easy and doesn't ask much of us, but with our combined gifts we can leave a substantial contribution.”
Karma Gurung is deputy new editor. Email her at
gazelle logo