Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Young Alumnus Finds Ways to Stay Involved

I've been a Pacific alumnus for a little over two years, and whenever I go back to visit my friends and professors, something is different.

Sometimes it's subtle, like the new signs on the light posts around campus. Other times it's blatant, like our "new" football team. With all the change, I'm always trying to figure out what's going on and what I can do to help. The conclusion I have come to seems fairly simple: combine what I've done, and what's happening now, to help drive the future of Pacific. But how?

What happened at Pacific in the years before I attended shaped my experience. While I was a student -- I began in 2004 and graduated in 2008 with a degree in journalism -- I didn't realize that. In fact, I was too busy scrambling my brain trying to nail down the importance of a thought-provoking Mike Steele quip, or perhaps wondering if I would ever pass Dave Cassady's print-media writing quizzes. Well, probably neither of those scenarios actually, but something more important, like why can't the Grand Lodge's soaking pool be within walking distance from campus? I digress.

As alumni, we are all deeply entrenched in the past of the university and what it has become, but at the same time, we are involved in shaping the future and what it can become.

Does it mean we need to donate our life savings to the cause? Of course not, but a little here and there helps out.

Does it mean to come back to campus every now and then and catch a sporting event? If that's appealing, then sure.

Does it mean to take a young adult aside, perhaps one who hasn't quite found its way as an example, and share with them the times and experiences you had as a Boxer (or Badger)? Absolutely. That's how we can be "agents of change." I hesitate to use that term in fear of making it cliche, but it couldn't be more appropriate.

In order to do this, however, alumni need to be in touch. Whether it's making an address available through Alumni Relations, or keeping tabs on what's happening through Pacific magazine, our past experiences and current situations can change a life. If we keep up on the present, combined with all the days, nights, late-nights and early-mornings we spent at Pacific, we can set the footings for a very rewarding future for not only Pacific, but ourselves.

BillyGates '08 holds a Pacific University bachelor of arts in journalism. He is currently working in Hermiston, Ore., as the sports section editor for the Hermiston Herald newspaper. Feel free to contact him at wc.gates@gmail.com.

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