With an average life expectancy of four years, the kangaroo has just enough time to grow up, meet a mate and pass on without accomplishing much more.

College isn’t far from the life experience of the average marsupial. I swear some classmates have aged 10 years since freshman orientation, despite still occasionally wetting the bed. I have a friend who swears she met her soul mate in the Pit. I once witnessed a girl stuff a cucumber into the pouch of her hoodie and walk out of the Corner Store. It’s the short lifespan where we part ways with the ‘roo.

After our four short years (or five scholarly ones), we actually begin our lives. Some are on to entry-level positions, looking forward to their careers. Others decided college wasn’t enough and signed up for two to four more years of learning and eating Easy-Mac. Still others – the smartest of us all – are taking that glorious “year off” to volunteer, find themselves or pretend to do the aforementioned and let mom do the laundry.

Whatever you’re doing next year, I beg you, don’t forget about the University of Rochester.

Remembering is easiest at the scene of the crime. Luckily, Rochester has Meliora Weekend – the time when alums return for famed speakers, 50-cent wings at the Elmwood and the chance to party like it’s still 1999. Meliora Weekend 2007 will feature the first ever Young Alumni Reunion, a special celebration for alumni from 1998-2007. Get the gang together and don’t miss an opportunity to meet people who have been in your shoes.

If you can’t visit, consider a monetary donation. Our Senior Mark isn’t the grandest class gift in history, but it meets its purpose – a visible reminder of a tie that exists between students and college. I know what you’re thinking – “I just paid thousands of dollars, why should I give the school more money?” and “I’m broke.”

Thinking the same, I donated $20.07. I figured this was chump change compared to what I forked over for wine tour and amusement park tickets during Senior Week. My tuition went to several places but as an alum, I now have the ability to give money to specific areas of the college community. Alumni gifts fund several student-focused projects, including scholarships and residence hall improvements, and maybe one day a new printer for the Campus Times.

More importantly, Rochester is a part of you, and me, forever. Think – every time you apply for a job, meet a business acquaintance or a distant relative graduates high school – you will utter your alma mater. Annual giving – even in the smallest amounts – gives meaning to that bond. Lastly, alumni donations help increase rankings and the profile of the school, which will benefit us in future job-hunts.

Desiring a more active role than whipping out the checkbook? Meet with prospective students wherever you are. UR Involved is an alumni volunteer organization that staffs college fairs, interviews applicants and welcomes admitted students to the University family through congratulatory phone calls and attending freshman summer send-offs.

The smallest thing you can do to keep the Rochester bug – or yellowjacket – alive is to keep talking. Rochester: it has a nice ring to it. Share your experience with family members and co-workers with pride. Who knows where your good word will end up – a future student? All of us – from the engineers to the art history buffs – know firsthand what life at UR is like. Even the laziest among us have no excuses.

Today, commencement, is the point when students become alumni. Even those without plans made for the moment will eventually do great things. I strongly believe in the future of my classmates. A closer look reveals future cancer researchers, straightforward politicians, passionate educators and celebrated authors.

When you make it to the top, don’t forget to turn and wave. Rochester has given us more than a degree – fantastic connections with faculty, freedom to map our academic route and good times with friends.

The college has given us much that cannot be measured in dollars and cents. We’re indebted to pay it back. Luckily for us non-marsupials, we have plenty of time to live a full life, one that includes fostering a friendship with “our beloved college home beside the Genesee.” Borchardt is a member of the class of 2007.



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