GOODMAN: Insight and experience from alumni vital to MU

Goodman_WEBOne of the greatest lessons I learned in the past few years is that to truly benefit from something, people must fully immerse themselves in every opportunity that presents itself. In other words, what you put into something is what you’ll get out of it.

This idea directly applies to a student’s time at Marquette, as making an honest effort to engage in academics, involvement opportunities, service and faith can enhance one’s experience far beyond the initial assumption that college is merely four years to have some fun while working toward a degree.

A lesser-known area of engagement, but potentially one of the most rewarding, is alumni interaction.

Although alumni engagement is important at every school, Marquette’s alumni network truly makes this university the incredible institution that it is. Alumni support not only provides the university with new buildings and state-of-the-art technology, it enables many Marquette students to enroll here by means of scholarship dollars.

This support also extends Marquette’s pillar of excellence across the world, as alumni carry out our traditions, history and pride in everything they do.

Students can gain so much from alumni connections, whether it is outrageous stories from their years on campus, business cards and job opportunities through networking or simple wisdom about how to make their college experience as meaningful as possible.

Some of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had at Marquette have come from casual interactions with former Warriors and Golden Eagles.

I’ve heard funny stories from parents at summer Preview about campus when the drinking age was 18 and there was a bar in the union. I’ve had dinner with a former journalism student and current Detroit Tigers scout with American League Championship rings to show for it. I’ve given tours to prospective students and made unexpected connections with a father who grew up in my hometown or a mother who is an alumna of my sorority.

I’ve seen the excitement in their eyes and heard the nostalgia in their voices as they talked about tearing down a tree when the men’s basketball team won the NCAA championship in 1977.

Being able to instantly connect with someone through a shared college experience is a unique thing and something that many don’t consider when selecting a university or arriving on campus in the fall. Although students don’t often think about it, alumni presence and interaction is a huge part of what gives an institution its legacy.

Some of us have about three weeks until we become alumni, while others have three years remaining. Either way, we all will eventually be the ones responsible for carrying Marquette pride with us wherever we go. We’ll be the ones excited to hear about university news and events. And we’ll be the people returning to campus with stories and wisdom to provide to students decades down the road.

Many exciting, rewarding and beneficial aspects are encompassed in a college experience, and developing meaningful alumni relations is one of them. Don’t wait until it’s too late to realize the value in such interaction – thank your benefactors, talk to alumni if they’re in your classes and take every opportunity possible to connect with them.

Alumni epitomize Marquette’s history and tradition. Just as “We Are Marquette,” they are Marquette, too. So this upcoming Alumni National Awards Weekend when you see them on the sidewalk or out having a drink at the campus bars, take a second to stop and chat – it might make their day, and you could gain more from the interaction than ever imagined.

Brooke Goodman is a senior studying journalism and political science. Email with anything you’d like to see her write about.