May 1 is “Decision Day” for high school seniors across the country to choose where they will spend the next four years at college. Each individual student is unique, and factors in picking the right college depend on each student’s desired college experience, life goals and personality.
When making their selection, I hope students consider the many opportunities NIU provides to help them make a difference while on campus and later in life; the dedicated faculty and staff who are here to help; cultural and social opportunities; and the alumni network. Many of our activities this week exemplify this point.
Last week, NIU showcased the abundance of research and artistry on campus at the annual Undergraduate Research and Artistry Day, highlighting research projects from Research Rookies and McKearn Fellows as well as capstone projects. Students can take part in these activities as early as freshman year, again giving them a leg up.
The Community Engagement Showcase, held the same day, offered a spotlight on service learning – another hallmark of an NIU education.
Among those presenting was Randiss Hopkins, who was inspired by his NIU Cares Day experience during his sophomore year to start a “Save Chicago” movement that turned into the larger “Remember Project.” Randiss joined celebrities Selena Gomez, Common, Tyrese Gibson, Martin Sheen, Jennifer Hudson and others Thursday at We Day Illinois, offering up his inspirational story and message to thousands of youths at the Allstate Arena.
We celebrated the dedication and service of 182 faculty and staff during a recognition luncheon Tuesday, recognizing those who work at NIU, including three who have served for 40 years or more. Thank you for your commitment to NIU and our students.
Activities in the community and on campus are important to our students, and Saturday’s ARTigras is just one example that brings the two together to celebrate the art scene, beginning with a parade from downtown DeKalb to campus with a variety of music performances and art displays on campus as well as the president’s residence. Students, community members and alumni all are invited to take part in the fun.
Finally, our alumni are key to the success of our students and our university as they continue their successful careers and in life. A growing number of Huskie alums are giving back to NIU, providing internships, externships and mentoring to our students. Thank you for your allegiance to NIU and our students. We look forward to your continued support as these programs are expanded.
Our goal is that when students graduate from NIU – as many will next weekend – they will have the knowledge, critical thinking skills and engaged learning experiences that will position them for success in their career and in life. We are working hard to go from very good to great in this regard.