Redbirds came together to make a difference this June as Illinois State University celebrated #RedbirdImpact Month. Four years ago, the Alumni Association’s Redbird Engagement and Development (RED) Committee started #RedbirdImpact Month as part of its focus on encouraging alumni to be more civically engaged. The concept started when the committee began inviting alumni to participate in the Center for Civic Engagement’s Alternative Breaks Alumni Weekend.
This year areas of campus including the Alumni Association, the Center for Civic Engagement, and the Office of Annual Giving developed the most robust #RedbirdImpact Month plan yet. The groups challenged alumni and donors to practice civic engagement through service and philanthropy. A goal was set to reach 250 service hours and 500 donors.
At the end of the month, the service challenge exceeded expectations with over 410 hours recorded. While there were not 500 donors, Annual Giving saw an increase in new donors looking to make an impact through scholarships and raised $40,000 in gifts.
“The outpouring of support from the Redbird community has been so uplifting. We saw large increases in the number of alumni and donors who attended service projects or made a gift to support their favorite causes,” said Jillian Nelson, senior director of Annual Giving. “It buoys our Redbird spirit and energizes us all to give back to our university and our communities.”
Alumni networks across the country set up projects so Redbirds had the opportunity to serve, and just as important, an opportunity to connect. #RedbirdImpacts included the following:
- The Chicago Suburban Alumni Network checked over 12,000 pounds of produce and labeled 220 pounds of cocoa at the Northern Illinois Food Bank.
- The Latinx Alumni Network packed food for 150 families at the Wilkinson Food Pantry
- The ISU Day of Service held on campus had more than 70 Redbirds work at the Midwest Food Bank, the School Street Food Pantry, and for Back 2 School Alliance.
- The Northern California Area Alumni Network worked for an hour cleaning the shores of Crown Beach
- The Philadelphia Area Alumni Network gave 32 hours of service donating, labeling, and sorting 350 books for the Laundromat Library League
- In one afternoon, the Black Colleagues Association collected three large bins of items to donate to the School Street Food Pantry.
Nelson adds that Redbirds do not have to wait until each June to make an impact. “The needs of our Redbirds continue throughout the year. The amazing Redbird community can make an impact all year long as we work to elevate the Redbird experience for today’s students.”
Alumni and friends interested in civic engagement opportunities or hosting an event during the year can contact the Office of Alumni Engagement at (309) 438-2586 or alumni@IllinoisState.edu.