Student Alumni Council: Growing friendships
Student Alumni Council (SAC) hosts events for campus and alumni each year, but members also take time for themselves to grow as leaders and build strong friendships. There are many laughs and memories made each year as SAC continues to recruit new members and say goodbye to graduates.
In Student Alumni Council, a huge part of our organization is based on team community and working together so that is why we put in great efforts to hold a fall and spring retreat for the new and current members. This fall, we worked with a group in Bloomington to put on a lock-box showdown for our group. During this retreat, we were in teams trying to get through a “mission” and use the clues we were given to get this box unlocked. It involved both teams to compete against each other which is fun because this year we have a group that loves a good competition. Once the retreat was over, our new members were official “SACers” and they received their new member t-shirt.
For our spring retreat, we worked with the Student Fitness Center on campus to put together a “low ropes” course inside. To our excitement, we had a lot of new members join SAC at the beginning of the semester which made this retreat extra special because we got to meet them through these fun activities. We did a lot of team activities here too which involved all of us showcasing our talents, and it was amazing to see each of us shine in our own special way.
SAC does two retreats a year to keep communication strong within the group and to continue to form relationships with members. I can say from personal experience, these retreats give me access to make better friendships with people I didn’t have before the retreat. By being a part of Student Alumni Council, we all have the opportunity to show each of our special talents and learn how to be a leader. We gain knowledge about communication, how to work with a group to succeed in a task, and most importantly, to gain better friendships with people within the group.
On October 28, several of the Student Alumni Council members took a trip to Tanner’s Orchard in Speer, Illinois, to meet with alumni of Illinois State and their families. Members and alumni had the opportunity to talk and exchange stories about ISU from then and now, all while enjoying delicious cider and apple donuts. Despite the frigid, cold temperatures, alumni families and current SAC members, were able to enjoy the orchard activities such as the petting zoo, mini golf, the corn maze, go-cart races, and much more. We ended our outing by eating pizza in downtown Peoria on the way home! It turned out to be a wonderful day full of stories, reminiscing, and good ol’ Redbird spirit.
November 13 was the day of the Student Alumni Council Thanksgiving party. It was held in the game room at The Edge Apartments near campus. As SAC members arrived, the party began with games of billiards, pinecone crafts, and socializing. As more people arrived, so did more food. The Thanksgiving party has traditionally been a potluck dinner, with each member being responsible to bring a dish to share. Once everyone arrived with their plate of food, we began to feast! After enjoying all the food, we decided it was time to relax and watch a classic movie and crowd favorite to watch Cheaper by the Dozen. Throughout the movie, members would make trips back and forth from the buffet to fill their plates with more food – this time dessert. As a group of broke and hungry college students, there was not a crumb left in the platters by the end of the party. You know what they say when it comes to parties… The bigger the better!
SAC Holiday Party
On December 4, Student Alumni Council hosted our holiday party. The party was held at the Illinois State Alumni Center. Due to the size of the crowd, catered food, and the activities planned, a larger space was needed rather of our usual meeting spot. Being a new member in the fall semester and even newer to planning events, I learned a lot about party and event planning, and even more about all of the SAC members. A new restaurant to Bloomington-Normal and an all-around favorite for the group, Portillo’s, was the popular vote for the party after having its famous Italian Beef sandwiches. The party ended with a fun “white elephant” gift exchange. Each member was asked to bring a present – some of the gifts included sweet treats, cozy winter clothing, and ISU apparel. This party is one of the group’s favorite SAC traditions, and perfect for the holiday season.
Fused Glass Day
Our February social event was truly a one-of-a-kind experience nobody in the club ever had before. Why so? We actually got to make fused glass pendants and keychains. Two friends of mine were generous enough to travel down to Illinois State and assist with teaching the group the enjoyment of glass art. They provided all the material and tools needed for a large group which was extremely helpful. The group learned the nature of glass and how it is used to make art, and then the fun began. People were let loose to hunt for the colors, shapes, and sizes they needed for their masterpiece. Everyone was taught the excitement of cutting glass. At first most people were a tad nervous which is understandable, after all we’re taught to be careful and gentle around glass. The teachers, including myself, were there every step of the way reassuring people there was nothing to be worried about and how fun it is. By the end of the night, people began to believe us and started realizing the delight of glass. After the lesson, we learned the glass had to be fired in a kiln for fourteen hours. This turned into a good retention strategy for SAC as it encouraged members to attend future meetings as they did not know when the projects would be delivered. Not only was this enjoyable for students individually, but we bonded as a group by asking for other people’s opinions or helping each other with certain steps that may have come easier to someone else.
Stories are written by members of Student Alumni Council.