Having an opportunity to attend college was one of my experiences that will always have an impact on my journey through life. With that experience and becoming a little wiser (older is a more applicable description), expressing pride in my institution is something that I really enjoy and feel is essential. I have no problem becoming a walking, talking billboard for my institution (Southern Illinois University – Go Salukis!) including sharing my stories with many during my journey. This activity has a dual effect. For me, it offers a reciprocal reaction which states that my institution is fortunate and grateful to have an alumnus that offers contributions to the world and demonstrates commitment and discipline to his craft. These types of characteristics continue to benefit my institution.
My college experience was fabulous. It seems like it was yesterday that I was on campus either heading to class or meeting many friends enjoying a great pizza or playing football on a frigid Saturday morning before we began our tailgating ritual. Yes those years were certainly memorable and quite an impact. As I continue to reach higher levels in my career, I will always reflect on my college experiences, classes, instructors and friends. Each reflection increases my admiration and pride for Southern Illinois University. With many of us unanimously agreeing that our college days were instrumental in where we are today, we must continue to express pride and make a commitment to our institution. There are many ways to express pride in your institution. Let’s take a look at some of the basic methods:
- Alumni Giving – Alumni financial giving is at the core of any institution’s survival.
- Participation/Alumni Groups – Each college/university has alumni located in the majority of large cities. Locate your local chapter and get involved.
- Personal Story – Just a simple conversation about your experiences during your college days could create interest in your institution.
- Institution Merchandise – Shirts, banners, bumper stickers, hats are additional ways to express pride in your institution. Also, by purchasing university merchandise, a source of revenue is provided for the institution.
- Attend Athletic Events – Many institutions have well established athletic programs that create a wealth of revenue for the institution. Purchasing tickets, tailgating, participating in activities all contribute to the bottom line.
- Volunteer to speak to youth groups – Middle and high school students are influenced by individuals that actually display effort to help. When you speak to a youth group, you provide an impact beyond measure.
Now many alumni ask the question “Why Should I Express Pride in my institution?” Many alumni feel that they have given enough to the institution via tuition. However tuition only covers a percentage of the overall cost of operating an institution. Many institutions rely on alumni giving to provide day to day operations. Our higher-ed institutions are the backbone of creativity for this global environment. Continued support for our institutions is crucial to our children’s success. Let’s give them an opportunity to experience some of the simple pleasures in which their memories will last a lifetime. I will always cherish my short period of time at SIU. From the beautiful campus and an invaluable education to the social events and life long friendships, my time at this institution will always be a part of my fabric. Express Pride and Commitment to Your College/University! Support Your Institution!