Friday, February 29, 2008

SMU heads to sweet home Chicago

By Lindsay Dickson

Over 120 Saint Mary’s University students, staff and faculty loaded busses this morning, red and white apparel packed in their suitcases, ready to share SMU with alumni, parents and prospective students. Their destination? Chicago.

This weekend marks the third “SMU Convention – Chicago,” an event that showcases SMU and provides an opportunity for alumni to reconnect with the university. “To do this, we need the help of many faculty, staff and students so when our guests come to the event, they can visit academic departments, admissions/financial aid, student organizations, athletics and more,” said Director of Alumni Relations and convention coordinator Meg Richtman. “Having them in person, doing what they are so great at, is what makes this event a success.”

The convention features two major events – an alumni reception tonight and exhibitor booths and breakout sessions on Saturday. A keynote address will also be given by John McDonough,president of the Chicago Blackhawks, who is a 1975 SMU alumnus.

Richtman explained that the three main goals of the event include increased student recruitment efforts in the Chicagoland area; interactions among current students, alumni, and faculty and staff; and general visibility of the university in the Chicago area. “We host many alumni events in Chicago, but this one is the most attended for that simple chance to see so many faces of SMU,” said Richtman.

One of the major reasons that 120 people from SMU are attending is the importance of connections.

“These connections can go so far in attracting students to attend SMU and reconnecting and updating our alumni and friends on the wonderful happenings at their alma mater,” said Richtman.

Senior Rick McCoy, who attended the 2006 Chicago Convention, hopes to “figure out some of the things that [alumni] have done during their time and their memories of the university.” McCoy hopes to be able to mirror some of these stories with his own experiences.

Current students attending the convention will be participating in trivia games, photo opportunities with the mascot, an “Ask a Student” booth, breakout sessions like “A YouTube View of SMU,” and other organization and departmental booths. McCoy will be working the Phi Mu Alpha booth as well as performing in the Oldie Moldie All-Stars during Saturday’s luncheon.

Richtman said that participating in the convention helps current students further embrace the larger SMU community and shows pride in their future alma mater.

“Many have attended this event and come back to campus with some new knowledge about SMU and a rejuvenated spirit,” said Richtman.

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