My name is Ali Jemes and I am the president of R.E.A.L. Bears. I am currently a senior majoring in religious studies with a minor in sociology. My goal is to work in a nonprofit that helps children or students. I joined the organization as a sophomore looking to find my place at the university, which I had yet to do. R.E.A.L. Bears has taught me many things, including how to lead different personalities and how to be an effective communicator. I had no plans of becoming president when I first came on board, but it has been a rewarding experience thus far.
I started off the presidency with a trip to CASE ASAP over the summer. This is the student advancement group conference that we attend to gain knowledge and advice from other organizations similar to ours. We brought back many ideas regarding student philanthropy, as well as membership recruitment ideas. Based on what we learned, we plan on continuing to grow our student philanthropy events, modify our executive council, and improve our retention of members. I did not realize how many great student alumni association groups with great ideas that we could learn from prior to attending the conference!
As I look back over this semester, I am really proud of what our group has accomplished. We continued with committees this year and they have all worked hard to grow their place within the organization. The philanthropy committee planned Giving Tuesday this year on November 29 and will launch the Change for Change Campaign in the spring, with the goal of educating students on why it is important to give back to our university. The Birthday Party Committee has been hard at work growing the event for the spring, as well. Both marketing and membership committees have worked on growing our presence on campus as well as improving our recruitment process. I look forward to what they will do in the coming semester.
As an organization, we participated in Homecoming. For the first time we made a banner for the competition in the Plaster Student Union and, as we usually do, assisted the Alumni Association with their events, like Breakfast with Boomer and the tailgate. We also participated in the Welcome Home Reception, including accepting a check from the Bookstore for the Be a Bear T-shirt. Hosting the skyboxes during the Homecoming game rounded out the weekend as always. The boxes are one of my favorite activities that we do as an organization.
As president, I have really enjoyed growing my leadership skills and seeing changes within the organization and know there will be more throughout spring. I hope we will see a jump in recruitment this semester, a successful birthday party, and a great kick off of Change for Change.