Show some love, would you?
Last updated 8/14/2020 at 11:49am
It’s been a tough year for everyone — and it is just August. Plague. Politics. Unemployment. Uncertainty.
A year ago, this very week, I started my job here at the Montana State Univeristy-Northern Foundation and I couldn’t have known how my first year would unfold. My first day was the same day as the start of student orientation and, in truth, I was going through just as many life changes as the students around me. As the year progressed and we entered the spring semester, probably a lot like the students, I felt I was in my comfort zone, hitting my stride. Until March.
We were coming off of a wonderful 90th Celebration Gala in the Diesel Technology Center and we had just started construction on our new sports complex the same week that the campus closed for online instruction in March. Our staff quickly learned to be nimble, working remotely and juggling, then cancelling, all of our spring events. We were concerned for our alumni so we did a campaign called the Care-A-Thon where we called alumni just to say hello.
I’m personally one who thrives with change so I looked at the situation as an opportunity for the foundation to update and evolve many web and outreach platforms. However, change is something many struggle with, especially when it’s unexpected or involves doing anything outside of their comfort zone. So here we are in August, and coming back to Havre to start school, many students may feel residual stress or anxiety from the abrupt change to their lives last spring.
I’ve been thinking about the post-traumatic stress quite a bit. In fact, with that in mind, this summer the foundation hosted free outdoor yoga on campus for the community. While out walking my dog, I’ve been contemplating how we can do an event, in a socially distant world, to show our faculty and students how glad we are they are here and how much we care about them. How can you do something to show support without gathering a huge group together to welcome everyone back?
This is where you come in. At the foundation, we are kicking off what we call our “Welcome Home Initiative.” We want the windows of businesses and boulevards of yards to have “We Love Northern” signs that the Northern community will see. Consider it a bear hug in the form of a simple sign. We landed on the phrase “We Love Northern” not only because it’s a commonly used phrase, but because we want these signs to live beyond just a welcome home. We want business owners to leave the signs up all year. We want the community to put out the yard signs at key events — maybe graduation, homecoming, or maybe if a team or club is excelling. We want the community of Havre to show Northern some love.
We are asking for free-will donations to cover the cost of the signs, but more important to us is that we get the love out there for all to see. We will be going around to area businesses and will also have a small booth giving out signs at North 40 this Saturday from noon to 2 p.m. and at Gary & Leo’s Fresh Foods from 4-6 p.m. Follow our Facebook page at Northern Alumni Foundation for more information. You can also call us at 265-3711.
The first day of school is Aug. 31, so we are trying to get as many signs up before that time and ask that you at least keep the signs up through to Homecoming, planned for October.
Put yourself in the shoes of our students and imagine how wonderful it will be for them to see that Havre is glad they are here. Show them some love.
Shantel Cronk is CEO/executive director of the MSU-Northern Foundation