Humor me for just a moment.
Think back on your Clarkson experience. Ok … got it? Is there a place in your memory when, as a student, you learned about the history and traditions of Clarkson? Do you have memories of making alumni connections? Who were they? What careers have they pursued? What charitable works were they engaged in? I’m sure you have a sense of Clarkson history and tradition; osmosis is the term that comes to mind. But I’m also guessing you’re having a hard time putting your finger on student-alumni connections.
The Alumni Council of your Alumni Association had the same trouble, trouble that hampered a mission: how to connect students and alumni from start to finish, freshman year to graduation, to build a stronger Clarkson community, to enhance the reputation of the University, to aid in recruitment, and, yes, to instill a sense of history and to build pride.
If only we had a special location … and some fundraising.
The right place at the right time
Enter the new Student Center started and encouraged by students-now-alumni! While we’re at it, let’s throw in a space the University had yet to design that just happens to be at the crossroads of the campus. The Alumni Association took stock of the moment, and seized it.
The Alumni Gateway, dedicated in October 2010, is located at one of the busiest traffic locations on campus, the entrance to the Student Center from the newly renovated Educational Resources Center (ERC). The Alumni Association committed to a $300,000 fundraising goal in October 2008 to “create a dynamic space where the history and tradition of Clarkson and the accomplishments of its alumni can be shared with the Clarkson community.” A total of $356,468 has been raised to furnish the Gateway, to provide a $100,000 gift to the Student Center construction fund, and to establish a unique student curator support fund to enable student involvement and leadership to refresh the displays throughout the academic year.
Location, Location, Location!
In just a year’s time, “I’ll meet you at the Gateway” has become a common phrase on campus. The central location, sitting areas, memorabilia display and prominent display of Alumni Association Golden Knight and Woodstock awardees make for a perfect mix of location, history and presence of an alumni legacy. Most students (and I fear, some alumni) did not know such awards existed.
We are making connections! The flexibility of the design allows us to feature our rich heritage — Ice Carnival, Greek life, hockey, clubs and organizations, long winters, short springs and past special events. There’s even a freshman beanie or two. At this year’s reunion, we started what can be a new reunion tradition, a display of memorabilia special to the 50th reunion year class. Class of 1962 … to the attic!
You can participate in growth of the Gateway. Your memorabilia and especially memorabilia with your special story or event can become part of Clarkson history. Can you part with it?
We have exceeded our fundraising goal, but support for an additional student curator each year to research, catalog and reflect our history would certainly enhance the number of display options throughout the year. If you are interested in donating either memorabilia or additional funds, please visit the website at http://www.clarkson.edu/alumni/alumni_association/gateway/
Enjoy the Alumni Gateway next time on campus!
A personal note
I had the good fortune to be Alumni Association president when the stars aligned. Let’s face it, new Student Centers aren’t built every day. I extend my sincerest thanks to the Alumni Council for their unwavering support of the project. We all agreed with more than a little nervousness on that October morning in 2008 when we committed to our first-ever fundraising venture. With more than 70% of the Alumni Council participating, with the help of some special friends of the University, and with a commitment to the project by the Golden Knights, we … you … simply knocked it out of the park. Thank you!