Connecting to the Orange and Blue

The University of Illinois provides important resources for each and every student on our campus. Excellent classes, 1000+ student organizations, and a thriving community of students from around the globe. During my first two years on campus I was able to enjoy each of these parts of the campus experience. I’ve joined and participated in student organizations, gone to class, and created lasting friendships. However, I still felt as though my college experience was missing something: an undeniable connection to the University of Illinois. I felt more akin to a student who happened to go to Illinois than a true participant in our unique collegiate environment.

During a meeting with my academic advisor last semester (which I highly recommend everyone do, but that’s for another blog), I was encouraged to apply to the University’s Athletic Board. The purpose of the board is to provide input to both the Chancellor and Athletic Director on the state and direction of our athletic department. My background has a strong emphasis on sports, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to contribute directly to the future of our school. Thus far, it has exceeded expectations.

 

Bielfeldt Administration Building, where the athletic board meetings are held. It also holds offices for the athletic department.

Our first meeting of the semester was earlier this week, where I participated in a committee in the morning and then the athletic board itself in the afternoon. The committee discussed in depth some of the challenges of balancing a Division I athletic program with our high academic standards. I was able to gain valuable insight that truly cannot be found anywhere else on campus, nor through independent research. In the afternoon, I listened to both the chancellor and the athletic director speak about the direction of our university and athletic program, and even participated in a vote on a new policy. I felt connected.

Here’s the best part: there are dozens of boards and committees available for students to apply to, ranging across a wide variety of important issues. These groups need student input, and are often low commitment throughout the year. If you want to make a direct impact on the direction of our university, there is no better way to get started than through this process. I’ll link to the Illinois Student Government page here for those who are interested. Talk soon.

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