Jun 21 / Todd

JMUSB Attends Another MAC…

…and this time there wasn’t even a major award involved. We simply were so thrilled about last year and learned so much that helped us sound slightly less uninformed than usual that we wanted to go back for a second dose. Plus it’s all Dukes fanatics like us so and it was a beautiful summer weekend in the ‘Burg so what’s not to like.

First, a refresher. MAC stands for Madison Alumni Conference (as opposed to that midwestern directional-school conference that plays games in front of tens on Tuesdays). The Alumni Association brings in a bunch of chapter leaders and general influencers from JMU Nation to learn about what’s going on at JMU currently and what they can do to help with fundraising and hosting social and philanthropic events out in the hustings (not sure I used that correctly, but I just love that word). They also have a big Awards dinner where they award things like Chapter of the Year, Event of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, and thank outgoing members of the Alumni Association Board of Directors. This year, since both new members were present, they also announced the two new members of the Board (more on that soon).

Our Four Big Stories This Year

1) “We’re All In.” Awkward, party of one, your table is waiting. So, funny story about writing this little project when two of you are in different places – particularly when one of us, in this case yours truly, is at an official JMU event like MAC, and the other partner is at home lobbing in snark on Twitter. When I walked into the plenary session on Saturday afternoon featuring one of the JMU’s coolest employees (and avowed Deadhead), AVP for Communications and Marketing Andy Perrine, I had a general idea that the session might be a test(y)-audience for JMU’s new slogan that had been presented to the BOV on Thursday to tepid reaction and reported on by The Breeze on Friday. Rob and I had texted Friday and generally agreed that while “Be the Change” had run its course over the last decade, “We’re All In” was about as meh as anyone could imagine. The exact thing that a bunch of fresh-outta-MBA-school guys with pastel golf shirts and Barstool stickers on their tailgates would come up with if they were hired as consultants by a large regional public university at a likely exorbitant rate. What I didn’t know was that Rob was tweeting at the time with lots of funny responses to “We’re All In.” Just as in my actual JMU days, I was one of the last slackers to stroll in and the four or five folks who know about JMUSB laughed in my general direction. It was beautiful actually in its own way. But poor Andy had to put up with a room full of resistant folks (and remember, those folks are the ultimate JMU cheerleaders under any circumstances). In any case, who knows if “We’re All In” is actually going to be rolled out given the BOV reaction, but it was an interesting session to say the least, including the inevitable and gloriously nerdy (for an English major) devolving into a discussion of the merits of “We’re” versus “We Are.”

For the record, the great thing about Be The Change was it was a charge, it felt like JMU, and it was an adapted Gandhi quote. The problem was since JMU introduced it ten years ago, it’s been adopted by everyone from companies to political advocates to mommy bloggers. The other problem was that you can’t trademark a Gandhi quote as your own and use it for your own commercial purposes. So yes, it’s time for a change, but we’re just not sure a dated poker term is that change.

2) Tripp Hughes and Chiquita Jones on the AA BOD – These two new members of the Alumni Association Board are dedicated and deserving Dukes in every sense of those words. From an Athletics angle, with J.R. Snow, among others, rolling off the Board this year, we had some concern that our precious corner of the JMU universe might lose some passion, but with Tripp, a now veteran Richmond Dukes leader, coming on, we feel a lot better that the backroom will not forget what’s best for getting to places like Frisco, Oklahoma City, and the Big Dance in hoops.

3) Charlotte Wins Chapter of the Year (and MIP Chapter) – So since I moved to NC and I’m right smack between Raleigh and Charlotte I’ve been fortunate to meet quite a few folks from both chapters. Even more fortunate, I think I can safely call most of the Queen City’s Chapter leaders “friends of JMUSB” at this point. So it was really great to see the hard work that group has put in the last five plus years rewarded with not only this award, but even better with a robust, proud chapter in a city that is bursting with new Dukes alumni. Tim Emry, Jessi Groover, Carrie Klamut, Kate Schober, and their entire squad deserve a ton of credit for rebuilding this nascent chapter at a time when JMU itself wasn’t doing a ton of encouraging of new/rebuilt chapters. And I need one of those shirts!

4) Regional Ambassadors – While we were somewhat dismayed by the lack of Duke Club presence this year, one great piece of news from our standpoint was Alysia Davis working to use “Regional Ambassadors” more in locations that don’t have official chapters and generally being willing to help with events in those spots. Maybe that’s personal after we had 40 screaming Dukes in Greensboro for the NDSU game last December but it’s a really good effort after years of not really starting up new chapters aside from those that were already well-established.

5) THIS Video from the Steel City Dukes. This thing that the small but seriously passionate group of Yinzer Dukes put together for Giving Day this year was ridiculously impressive and raised the bar big-time for what is possible from a chapter in support of the Dukes.

And last but most certainly not least, an enormous thank you to the team of folks that host  (i.e. put up with us) this enormously under-the-radar-amazing event. These folks are led by Alysia Davis (the real drive behind MAC17) and Ashley Privott, but there’s a whole team of people that make the weekend so special (shoutout to Emma Maynard for her energy and open-mindedness this year at the “My JMU Network” breakout session).

Oh yeah, one final note. Like D-Hall last year, this upcoming school year will be the swan song for the beloved (ok, maybe just beloved for us Eagle folks) Mrs. Greens as it makes way for the expanded College of Business so make sure and make time for that incongruous salad bar/hot dog combo that only a JMU dining establishment understands how to get right when you’re back next year.

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