From the Alumni Association

Recently, a friend of mine in Illinois, who is not from South Dakota and did not attend school in South Dakota, reported that one of her daughters came home from school p00-Andi_StaffPhotoand announced that three people in one class were wearing Jackrabbits gear. I love that she noticed! It got me wondering what her first impression was and where her recognition of South Dakota State University originated.

It made me think about the first impressions I have had and made over the years. It made me think of the first impressions I had of campus, first as a young 4-Her and later on my campus visit. When I think back to my campus visit, it was one of those picturesque fall days in Brookings where the sun was shining, there was only a breeze in the air, the trees were a beautiful mixture of colors and just beginning to lose their leaves … the Admissions Office version of a Chamber of Commerce day.

It made me think about the impression students had of campus 100 years ago and conversely what it is like to walk into the Enrollment Services Center today for a campus visit. The process of visiting a campus has changed dramatically over the years. I have had many alums talk about how they had never stepped on campus before they moved themselves in as freshmen, something that rarely happens now.

Now, the campus visit is a vital part of the selection process when choosing where to spend your academic career. It is important how a potential student feels when they visit campus, if they can see themselves here and if the people they interact with while on the visit make them feel comfortable here. However, the selection process begins long before they step on campus, and how they decide to make a visit to campus depends on a variety of factors.

It seems that one of the easiest things that everyone reading this magazine can do is talk about SDSU to someone. It may seem small, but the personal impression you leave someone who is less familiar with SDSU than you are may be the thing that leads them to consider SDSU for themselves, their child, their grandchild, etc. In this way, we can all contribute to the growth of SDSU. It is hard to imagine something more in line with the land-grant mission than the grassroots effort of neighbor talking to neighbor about the research and opportunities taking shape under the shadow of the Campanile.

While we only get one chance to make a first impression, it doesn’t mean that we are done. “We sing the song of the prairie” seems like the perfect directive to make that first, second, third, etc. impression of SDSU for someone. Be that positive impression, that ambassador to “Forever raise the song in praise both loud and long …”

“With loyal hearts so true …”

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