As a double alum of my hometown University, I feel a deep need to share what my life would be like without Southeastern Louisiana University. Some may wonder why and it is a simple reason. In many ways, I owe a great deal to my Alma Mater, and when someone or something has done something great for you, then we’ve been taught to say thank you.
As a child, I never thought much growing up about what my future looked like because I had the unpleasant opportunity to witness things that children shouldn’t have to endure. But I was lucky to have people in my life like my mom and my sister who pushed and encouraged me to do something with my life. It wasn’t truly until my senior year in high school that a real true consideration of college became important. I worked 40+ hours while I was in high school, so as you can imagine, there wasn’t much time to think about anything other than work and friends. However, surpassing all of the odds and expectations, I enrolled in college at SLU the semester after high school graduation.
It was during my time at SLU that I experienced all of the following:
- What it truly meant to study.
- How to engage in and excel at group activities.
- What it meant to become a leader.
- How to fail. Yes, but more importantly how to overcome failures.
- Why community matters and how to select and become a part of one.
- What it means to belong to something greater.
My list could continue, but for the sake of time I will stop there because I’m sure that you can see that Southeastern became a part of my DNA. I learned to truly love the institution that was helping to define and create my future. As we fast-forward many years, my undergraduate degree in Elementary Education and my masters degree in Education are being used in many ways. I now own a marketing company - yes, not education but marketing. That is because my education has opened up more doors for me than I can even count. It has led me to places and encounters with people that I never dreamed possible.
One of those dreams was to be a small business owner. I never imagined I would be sitting in the seat of an entrepreneur, but I am, and I’ve been in this seat many times. In my business, 5 Stones Media, we value deeply our relationship with my Alma Mater. Without Southeastern, 5 Stones Media would not be the same and likely might not even exist. Even though 5 Stones Media is a small company of 11 employees and typically 3-5 interns, we are important to our community. Southeastern touches nearly every aspect of our business - from strategy and design, to community building and assistance, to non-profits. We offer extraordinary experience to Southeastern interns in marketing, communications and graphic design. Many of our interns have become a part of our growing family of employees. We are proud to have quality relationships with many departments and organizations related to Southeastern. We love supporting Southeastern Athletics, the Alumni Association and the Lion Athletic Association. We got our humble beginnings while participating in the Incubator Program housed in the Louisiana Small Business Development Center at Southeastern. We fly our SLU flag proudly and #LionUp every chance that we get. Do you get it? We love Southeastern. We are Southeastern.
Now, to the point! Higher education has faced some disabling budget cuts over the past several years and Southeastern has suffered greatly. But, we are Lions and we never give up. Our university is going to be fine, because we will persevere. However, we need to be loud and speak up. We need to use our “outside voices” (see, that’s the teacher coming out in me!) and we need to ROAR. I strongly encourage you to join the ROAR Network that was created by the Southeastern Alumni Association. It is not just for Alumni! It is for anyone who cares about their community, and wants to see Southeastern grow and thrive in spite of horrendous cuts.
We are only one small piece of this greater Southeastern community so I encourage you to look around and see what this community is like when school is not in session. See what is going on when it is Friday and there is no school in session or during the summer where there are fewer students on campus. It hurts. Talk to restaurants, coffee shops and retailers and find out what the economic impact is when Southeastern is closed or slower. We all feel it. We love our students and we love Southeastern.
Please join me as we all “Stand Up, Speak Up & Lion Up”. The time is NOW. Please do not wait for more budget cuts and more suffering. Will you speak up when they say it’s time to close or will you speak up now? Time is of the essence. Show your love today! Join the ROAR Network. Share this blog post with your friends on social media. Contact your local and state representatives and tell them that the cuts to higher education must stop now. Find another way. Think creatively and find a solution.
If you love supporting small businesses, then visit Obsession Boutique in Hammond Square to purchase your Lion Up sweeper jersey like this one that Kim is wearing!