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Student Alumni Council: Growing, learning, staying involved

The Student Alumni Council (SAC) stays involved many ways around campus. The group also continues to engage in civic engagement and leadership building opportunities. Many alumni may notice a couple of traditional events and many new ones as they read through the recaps below.

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In October, SAC members participated in an outdoor fall retreat led by Illinois State’s Campus Recreation at the team-building center and ropes course. The group did many team-building activities such as problem-solving games and communication-strengthening games. SAC members improved their communication skills and together became a closer team! After the retreat the group headed  to Buffalo Wild Wings to celebrate a successful day and continued to build relationships.

In April, SAC members attended the spring retreat held at the Alumni Center. Each SACer had to fill out a StrengthFinder profile prior to attending the retreat. Each StrengthFinder was unique. At the retreat, StrengthFinders were further explained to help each SACer understand personal strengths. This retreat was facilitated by Harriett Steinbach, M.S. ’05, coordinator of Leadership and Community Connections for Illinois State’s Dean of Students. This beneficial exercise is something SAC members can utilize in future planning within SAC and for personal and professional goals.


During the 2016–2017 school year, the Student Alumni Council held several socials to bring the team closer together while also bringing recognition to the organization. In the fall, SAC advisors Stephanie Duquenne ’04, M.S. ’15,  and Samantha Spellman, M.S. ’17, hosted a spaghetti night where SAC enjoyed a home cooked meal, some fun on the trampoline, and Wii. The holiday party was one of the favorites this year because SAC continued its tradition of white elephant gifts and played a few games, which garnered some laughs and resulted in a good break from studying for finals. SAC also had a CherryBerry fundraiser and new member meeting at the beginning of the spring semester. The group enjoyed  frozen yogurt while playing board games and card as a way to help SAC get to know new members and have some fun. SAC is very close with one another and always have a fun time doing these socials!

Civic engagement

Up ’til Dawn is a nationwide student-led program created by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The mission of the event is to raise funds and awareness for childhood cancer. Student Alumni Council participated in Up Til’ Dawn in the fall of 2016. Through fundraising, Student Alumni Council raised $650 for the Up til’ Dawn event. Overall, Illinois State University raised $184,914 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital!

The evening of the event was jam-packed with activities from the beginning. The teams participating in the event met at Horton Field House to receive instructions for the night ahead. The first activity for the night was a scavenger hunt. After instruction, groups were loaded into buses to the Children’s Discovery Museum in Uptown Normal. At the museum, groups had to complete tasks that were interrelated with St. Jude patients like taking photos at prom, graduating from college, and so on. Once completed, the buses returned to the Illinois State Student Fitness Center for the rest of the night. The activities planned here included silent disco, testimonies from St. Jude family members, and team bonding. Student Alumni Council really enjoyed silent disco. It allowed the team to bond while listening and dancing to music, in order to stay “up ’til dawn.”


The Student Alumni Council BOO!-grams received high praise this year. What’s a BOO!-gram? It’s a message sent to a friend, faculty member, or staff member on campus. The messages were personalized by the buyer on a ghoulish notecard for a dollar. If the individual decided he or she would like to send a spooky message with a sweet surprise, they could for an additional dollar. The fundraiser lasted for a week on campus at Milner Plaza. The BOO!-grams raised $60 for St. Jude, which helped Student Alumni Council go to Up ’til Dawn described above.