This past weekend, Michael and I headed up to Caro, MI where we helped his mom with Relay for Life. For numerous reasons, his mom has become an active advocate for Relay and cancer research. Because of this, for the past few years she heads up a team for the event. She invited us up, and I convince Michael to go, since i had missed the one I normally attend at UM-Flint. I had also lost a friend to cancer in January and really wanted to Relay, specifically for him this year. Well, after we had spent the night before and the morning of, setting up the team’s Relay site on the Tuscola County Fair Grounds, I got to sit down for a second, rest and (of course) check my Twitter and other social media platforms. A few peeps had posted some good articles and I Pocketed them for reading later, addressed some fraternity things that had been sent my way and responded to a few social event invites. Afterwards, I got back to Relay and helped where I could and did a few laps around the grounds. It was during one of these laps that I was thinking about why I Relayed and if I ever let anyone else know that I did and why I did. Then suddenly, I had a “lightbulb” moment. I quickly finished my lap and jumped on my iPhone and hit my Twitter app. I perused through two weeks of the tweets and posts of people and tags that I follow. Unfortunately, I didn’t really find what I was looking for.
What I was looking for was fellow professionals exampling Community Service and Philanthropy.
I LOVE the philosophy of “Lead By Example” and I know that it is my philosophy to many things, however I never consciously put the two together until now. And I have no clue why not, because it is completely applicable. We are always telling our students to get involved with the community our campuses are apart of as learning components of the liberal arts education. We even put it in the curriculum and student organization expectations to produce so many hours of community service and philanthropy. However, looking at myself, do I really example community service and civic engagement? Do I show them why giving back is so important and what it means to me.?
We know that everything can go viral. Music videos, gossip, news, and memes. We utilize the viral concept when we are promoting conferences and webcasts, sharing scholarly articles, discussing philosophical ideas on our profession and even how we are improving personal health. So, why are we not exampling how we give back beyond just our field? We are crazy busy, but if we fundamentally believe that it is such an important aspect of student development and even human development, then why are we not making the time in our busy schedules to give back?
We have a lot of hashtags that we follow. However, where is our “SAGivesBack” hashtag? We have plenty of hashtags to use as frustration outlets and to share and example technological and focus area information. But why don’t we example the positive impact that each person can have if we just give back to our communities? Now, I’m not saying to brag about “what a good person” you are or to do it just to receive accolades. But I am suggesting that we example ways to give back and what we ourselves learn, so that we are not just arbitrarily telling our students to become civically engaged, while we do not give back ourselves. I know that I’m definitely going to be more purposeful in making time to give back and become engaged so that I have the stories and experiences to explain why being civically engaged is a key part to the college experience and human experience. And I encourage you all, my fellow Student Affairs peeps, to help spread how and why #SAGivesBack!
Until next time!
Peace, Love and Pandas!