Brian's Corner

Powerful Relationships

In college I earned a minor in political science.  I was not all that political at that juncture in my life. But I had a political science professor who I found so knowledgeable and so engaging, that I took every class he taught.  He was a powerful story teller who did much more than lecture. He made each topic come alive through vivid examples and memorable anecdotes. To this day, when I think back on college highlights, I reflect on Professor Beals.

As an alumni association, we’ve been on the road a great deal, meeting with alumni as part of our “Then and Now” tour.  In recent months, we’ve been to Dallas, Houston, Charleston and Naples. On the horizon, we’ll be in Phoenix, Washington DC and Chicago.  And our alumni events in Northeast Ohio zestfully continue with broad support.  A common theme we hear at these gatherings is the power of relationships that occurred at CSU.  So many name key faculty members who helped them succeed in different ways. Others talk of coaches from teams, friends from classes, sorority sisters/fraternity brothers, or that special staff member who always made time to hear their stories, their challenges, and help with their needs. More than 80 of these faculty/staff members were recognized during Homecoming by young alumni who nominated them for Golden Apple Awards.

These alumni gatherings reinforce to me the importance of relationships and the power CSU has in forging meaningful connections and lifelong bonds. We often forget just how much growth and personal evolution occurs while in school.

Relationships matter. At the alumni association, we coined “Vikings Share the Love Month” to highlight many of our engagement activities in February. These programs highlighted relationships that brought alumni together with other alumni, and alumni together with current students.  As part of the month, we also invited alumni who found their loved ones at/through CSU to share their stories.  The replies we received were wonderful. Serious, funny, inspiring, simply delightful. I invite you to read them here, as I suspect you will enjoy them just as much and also discover parallels in your life.

The alumni association is committed to extending your relationship with CSU throughout your lifetimes, knowing that at different points, you have different needs and interests.  We recently invited all alumni (with active email addresses) to share their thoughts about the association and about CSU through an alumni attitude survey.  If you received a request to contribute your thoughts (and have not yet replied), I encourage you to take the survey and share your honest assessment. We will share the results of the survey in a future issue of Viking Pride.

As we begin March, let’s not forget the importance of our CSU relationships, or label them as just a “February thing.” Feel free to share that Viking Love every day throughout the year.

Brian Breittholz,
Executive Director, CSU Alumni Association
Assistant Vice President, Alumni Affairs