In fall 2017, the University launched a $150 million comprehensive campaign, Redbirds Rising: The Campaign for Illinois State. The most ambitious campaign in the University’s history, Redbirds Rising supports scholarship, leadership, and innovation. As part of this campaign, the Division of Student Affairs committed to raising $2 million towards leadership development, co-curricular scholarships, professional and career development, inclusion initiatives, and civic engagement.
In order to reach our fundraising goal, Student Affairs enlisted the help of several generous alumni. Thirty-five alumni ambassadors were selected to maximize the strengths and networks of our alumni, and to provide an avenue for alumni to reconnect with one another and with Student Affairs. Alumni ambassadors are also encouraged to connect with students through mentoring or by providing internships, or by speaking to student groups as a keynote on campus. Further, they help promote the division through social media and by attending events.
In addition, nine campaign volunteers make similar contributions, but have also made a commitment to host alumni gatherings and provide feedback to the division on campaign efforts. Finally, all the volunteers are asked to make a gift toward their passion in Student Affairs, helping to make a significant impact on the student experience at Illinois State.
The alumni ambassadors and campaign volunteers have met a few times since their inception in summer 2017. They are planning to host several alumni gatherings in the 2018-2019 academic year, including the return of the Student Affairs Legacy of Leadership receptions. Our hope is to connect with even more Student Affairs alumni through these events and to encourage them to become involved with Illinois State and Redbirds Rising.
Erin Thomas, director of assessment and engagement initiatives in the Division of Student Affairs, said, “From students who make their first gift with Forever Redbirds and staff members who contribute $10 of every paycheck to Student Affairs, to major gifts like those from Bob and Julie Dobski who gave $250,000 toward the Bone Student Center revitalization, we believe that every gift matters.”
The Division of Student Affairs extends our sincerest appreciation to our donors, alumni ambassadors, and campaign volunteers who all give of their time, talent, and treasure to advance the mission of Student Affairs and help us fulfill our promise to all students.