Illinois State University’s Alumni Association understands that the core values of the University do not stop after graduation. To align with the value of civic engagement, the association’s Redbird Engagement and Development (RED) Committee has been tasked with providing leadership and direction for alumni to continue the lifelong responsibility of being informed and engaged global citizens through meaningful opportunities.
“Several members of the association started planting the seed to become more civically engaged as a board a year or so ago,” said Kaci Rollings ’94, RED Committee chairperson. “The committee felt the best way to continue the vision is to align ourselves with the University. As a result, we hope this will add additional momentum to Illinois State’s desire to see Redbirds engaged and active in their role as citizens. As a committee we want to provide resources, support, opportunities, and encouragement to our alumni in achieving their civic engagement goals.”
The committee partnered with Illinois State’s Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning for the 2018 Alternative Breaks (AB) student trips, asking alumni in four cities to host a dinner that connected AB students with alumni to discuss the service trip and its benefits. Because of the success of the events, as many as five cities will host again in March. In April the Alumni Association board of directors will work with Illinois State students at Bring It Back to Normal 2019 on a special service project to educate students on the importance of staying engaged after graduation.
To enhance civic engagement with fellow Redbird alumni, RED will again partner with the center this June to host an alumni service weekend. The goal is to find a project within the Illinois State community to which all alumni can come and contribute. Alumni networks across the country will be encouraged to find a service project for area alumni during the weekend and share the impact made. Alumni who are unable to make it back to campus or participate in a network project can find personal service projects during the designated weekend and share photos over social media using the hashtag #RedbirdImpact.
Rollings said RED hopes alumni will join the cause for the service weekend and thereafter. “RED wants to have alumni represent the best of the communities in which they live. Whether this is demonstrated by voting, supporting a local outreach program, or being aware of the needs in their own community and also reaching out to other communities across the country or world.”
Rachel Kobus can be reached at rkobus@IllinoisState.edu.