(NOTE FROM COLLIN: This post is from a winner of the 2016 Daily Stampede Volleyball fundraising drive. Seriously, support the ladies, they are amazing and Coach Draper is awesome. The fundraiser starts again next week, so you too can buy your very own post. /PSA
TLDR: Buy Collin’s love/respect and you get a free post.)
Written By: Genevieve Borello, USF DC Alumni Chapter
There are more than 300,000 USF alumni around the world. For those of us who no longer live in Florida, we band together in groups around the country to share our love of USF.
There’s no glamour or reward from volunteering as an officer for a regional USF Alumni Association group. We do not get USFAA membership for free, no USF perks, and we don’t actually get formally thanked or recognized individually (groups can apply for awards that don’t actually carry any financial reward or prestige). We volunteer because we love USF. We volunteer because we want to stay connected to our alma mater and connect with local alumni.
We volunteer hours of our personal time to plan events includinglocal cultural events, watch parties, networking events, and happy hours. While we enjoy attending these events and meeting other alumni, it can be exhausting and frustrating when no one shows up.
Each year, USFAA groups are asked to participate in the “Share the Love” Campaign – a multi-week campaign where groups post on social media and email USFAA designed and approved content to local members to encourage people to become USFAA members. The reward for participating? Groups that successfully complete all the required actions are entered into a drawing for a chance to win “$300, $200, or $100 in money for future (USFAA approved) events”. In other words, we campaign for USFAA, get people to pay membership dues, and we only get entered into a drawing to possibly win money.
Alumni Association groups are not actually guaranteed any money from USFAA. We can request a maximum of $1,500 from USFAA per year. This doesn’t mean we’ll actually get the money; USFAA decides the final amount a group is given (if anything). USFAA groups are not given any portion of money collected from membership dues from those who live in the area. Our finances are tied to USFAA: we are not allowed to have a bank account or credit card, and operate in cash. Any money we have on hand is either for our scholarship fund (that we have to send back to USF) or goes towards funding things USFAA won’t pay for (like our officer nametags).
So what does this mean? How can you help? On behalf of the many current and former officers representing USFAA regional groups around the country, get involved! Volunteer your time to help your local alumni group. Attend events. Donate your time and money to your local group. Go to the watch parties, the new-alumni welcome dinners, fundraisers, and meet the officers. Even if you only ever help once, it would be very much appreciated.
Out-of-state groups do not have the alumni base as groups in Florida, and it sometimes feels like we are a lower priority to USFAA. Many of the chapters don’t get big-drawing events with Judy or Mark – so we rely on local members to help identify events and things they’d enjoy. We have to become self-sufficient and more self-reliant. But without continuous local help and support, the group will inevitably fail.
We don’t want to fail. We want our groups and chapters to succeed. But we need your help, time, and money. Get involved, give back, do something. If you’ve never gone to an event, go to one. Meet your fellow alumni; there are some incredible people to meet and connections to make. Even if you don’t become an officer, you will still (hopefully) make some invaluable friendships that would not have been possible without your alma mater.
You may not know this, but there’s a whole big world outside and away from Florida. Someday you may even move away, and when you do, come and find us.