"Compared to the rest of the university, the CLEFIN world was a little different: it was new, we didn't share any lectures with other programs, the classroom was always the legendary Aula Perego. It had a bit of a high school atmosphere. This might be what has allowed us to create very strong connections, which have lasted more than 20 years,” says Massimo D'Onghia, CLEFIN Alumnus and currently Sales Director at Russell Investments.
Massimo, along with his friend and former classmate Paola Guarino, promoted fundraising for a scholarship named after his class group, as part of the Partial Undergraduate Scholarships program.
"We were already discussing the idea of seeing each other again after so many years. We’re all in our 40s, split between family and career. Then, when it came to fruition we said to ourselves: 'Why not give both a symbolic and real meaning to these meetings?'" continues Massimo. “We wanted to give something back to the university that gave to us on an academic, professional and even personal level. The college years define the person you will be for the rest of your life."
This is how they came up with the idea of launching a fundraising campaign for a young student who would pursue the same study program they started so many years earlier. "We worked as a team, like when we were at university: we produced a video, made contacts and got the word out."
The campaign was officially launched at the CLEFIN 1992 Reunion on 10 July, attended by the program's Alumni and faculty members. Within a few weeks, thanks to 51 donations, they had raised the €12,000 needed to fund the scholarship.
The scholarship was allocated to Giacomo Alaimo, born in 1999 and enrolled in the first year of the CLEF program (the new name of CLEFIN). He says: "It is a choice of great symbolic value, which best represents Bocconi's identity. I feel very honored, and I see myself both as a student and as a future Alumnus. There are so many students who deserve such an opportunity and I am sure that when I have the chance, I will do the same for those who come after me."
Giacomo met Massimo and the other promoters of the scholarship at the Donor Event on 18 March, the annual event organized by the University to thank its supporters: “I met some of the Alumni who helped finance my studies at the Donor Event. We compared our courses and I must say that, even though we belong to different generations, the approach to our studies and the mindset is the same. There were a lot of similarities."
"We got on him right away and told him to work hard, because the CLEF program requires a lot of energy," Massimo D'Onghia jokes. He adds, "This initiative has really made us proud. The spirit of solidarity has gotten everyone involved in a great cause. I hope we will soon be able to do this again with a new campaign."