A few months ago, I turned on my home computer and watched the small wheel spin. The screen eventually turned blue. I experienced a moment of hope, and then the wheel froze. Neither a reboot nor a reinstalling of the operating system fixed the problem. ..drat! To computer wasteland our beloved iMac was heading. At the same time, I was working with a few dedicated alumni to reboot the SEFS alumni group. I was hoping that our reboot wouldn’t result in the same frozen state; that, instead, we would start the wheel spinning and it would take off!
I’m happy to report that the reboot appears to be successful! Earlier this month, we had our first official meeting, with 18 people participating and lots of great ideas being planned and discussed. The gears are starting to move. The wheels are starting to turn. The newly hired Director of the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, Tom DeLuca, and the Dean of the College of the Environment, Lisa Graumlich, are supportive of and encouraged by the direction our group is taking.
First, our new name: an alumni union? Similar to a student union, but for alumni. A group of people who share the common bond of alma mater and a desire to help build and foster the community surrounding our former academic home. We are grassroots and decentralized, but networked, supportive and collaborative. We are fun. We are young, we are old. We are students, we work, we are retired. We studied forestry, we studied restoration ecology, we studied pulp and paper. We live in Seattle, we live in Oregon, we live in Florida. We focus our energies where we have interest and enthusiasm.
Right now, we have more than 25 people involved—and more are always welcome! The current members are beginning to formulate activities and projects. Some of us will host happy hours at downtown restaurants, some will host BBQs at their homes or Pack Forest, some will work on special outreach or history projects, some will start seeking support to replenish the student scholarships fund, and some will help us connect with more students, alumni and industry contacts. Stay tuned for invites and opportunities to events near you.
We are planning for an inclusive, alumni-wide gathering this spring at the Center for Urban Horticulture. It will be a casual affair—BBQ and potluck—and a wonderful opportunity to bring your family and friends and reconnect with the SEFS community. More information will be coming soon, and we hope to see many familiar and new faces there!
Ara Erickson (’04), SEFS Alumni Union Captain
Photos courtesy of Jessica Farmer.