May 8, 2013
A Special Campus Commencement
May is the month for commencement. Over two days, Cal State San Marcos will graduate 2,742 students. But there is another commencement that takes place a few weeks before that is just as meaningful in the life of this campus — the graduation of the annual Campus Connect class.
I started Campus Connect in 2005 as a way to bring together people from across campus to learn about the various departments and how our work is all interconnected, how collaboration and the behind the scene efforts are essential to moving the university forward. Over the course of the 2012-13 academic year, 25 faculty, staff and administrators got a “VIP Backstage” look at the university. (Every class has a theme). They heard from the provost and faculty; they spent an afternoon asking me questions; they toured our tunnels and learned about our environmental practices; they learned about the many support services available to students; and they heard from students — undergraduates and graduates, local students and international students, first generation students and diverse students, all of whom spoke about their experiences in classrooms, in organizations and in our communities.
For Campus Connectors, as we call them, the program is an opportunity to gain a bird’s eye view of the university, to see everything that it takes everyday to serve students, connect with our community and enhance our reputation. It’s also an opportunity to see the breadth of excitement and dedication of people at this institution, and to expand personal and professional networks. Campus Connectors learn in a very different way what University First really means and all the work that it takes from every department and every member of the university to serve students with the highest quality.
Once the program is complete, I depend on the alumni to be ambassadors, to share our story and our successes with the campus and external communities. I also use Campus Connect alumni to serve on committees throughout the year because I know that they “get” the university and can bring that Campus Connect perspective with them. They are important messengers and role models, and I recognize their continued work every year at a Campus Connect alumni luncheon.
With the graduation of this year’s class, there are now close to 200 Campus Connect alumni. It’s a select group. It’s a dedicated group. It’s a group that cares deeply about this university and our mission. It’s a group that I encourage you to consider joining. As one Campus Connect alumni said, “Participating in the Campus Connect program definitely impacted me both professionally and personally. Each session taught me something about the university that I really didn’t know before. It also broadened my vision and encouraged me to “step out” professionally by being a better ambassador for the university and serving in my department with a “new attitude.”
If you want that experience and so much more, apply by visiting http://www.csusm.edu/campusconnect/apply/index.html. The deadline is Friday, May 10. I look forward to hearing how Campus Connect has broadened your perspective and changed how you work.