As a sophomore film studies student, Sydney Alison is already a University Ambassador, an anchor on TUTV, a member of the Student Association cabinet and former resident hall president. Her impressive résumé of activities and outgoing spirit is especially remarkable because she was born with arthrogryposis multiplex congenita. Watch her TU story below:
When I came to TU as a freshman, I knew that I wanted to get involved on campus, especially in ways I wasn’t able to during my time in high school since sports dominated my life. During orientation, I was introduced to Student Association and thought it sounded interesting. When the applications for the Cabinet side of SA came out, I figured I might as well apply because it couldn’t hurt to put myself out there. I was pleasantly surprised when I got an email telling me I was invited to interview and even more excited when I was told that I was to be one of the Associate Directors of Athletics. I had no idea what was in store for me, but I couldn’t wait to get started.
I soon learned that I was a part of a committee that promoted varsity athletics on campus. We were in charge of having tailgates for football games and doing giveaways for all sorts of different athletic events to get students excited about going to the games. One of my favorite giveaways we did was for both men’s and women’s soccer. We gave away a really cool scarf and we actually ran out of them because so many people wanted them.
But being on SA isn’t all giving away free t-shirts and Chick-Fil-A. I was also able to help with other events around campus such as Homecoming in the fall and our annual Springfest event in the spring. It gave me the opportunity to meet a large number of students here at TU that I probably wouldn’t have been able to meet otherwise. It’s so gratifying to hear about how the student body enjoys the different events we put on and great to hear their feedback on how we can improve things in the future.
I also learned that the Student Association has a lot larger impact on campus than most students even realize. The Senate side of SA allocates money to every single student organization on campus so they can put on their own events.
I loved being on Student Association so much during my freshman year that I applied to be an Executive Director my sophomore year and was fortunate enough to become the ED of Student Awareness. Now, I’m able to plan events that I think will help the student body be more aware of what is going on in the world around them. I have a wonderful committee full of ADs who are passionate and willing to help out the amazing students here at TU.
Being a part of student association is definitely one of my favorite things about The University of Tulsa and has most definitely impacted my life for the better by allowing me to grow as a leader and individual.
Last year, a classmate and I organized the first ever TEDxUniversityofTulsa. TED, which stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design, seeks to spread powerful new ideas through moving, interdisciplinary talks. TEDx events are planned and coordinated independently, on a community-by-community basis.
In my first year as an organizer, I had the benefit of not knowing just how arduous a task I was taking on. However, planning this event for the second time gave me the opportunity to improve it and build a great team. This year’s event was aimed at sparking discussion and connection around our theme, “Truth and Dare.” We chose this theme because truth often requires us to be daring, and daring often leads us to new truths. Our speakers and performers shared their truths and challenged attendees with their dares.
This year my co-organizer, Sam Beckmann, a sophomore computer science major, and I worked to make this event a campus tradition. We chartered the organization through TU’s Student Association and put out a call to campus for team members. We got fellow students to help with everything from film to stage management to budgeting to graphic design. TEDxUniversityofTulsa is completely student run and dependent on the skills of the students on our campus. Similarly, our speakers and performers are all University of Tulsa students and faculty, which allows us to showcase the incredible ideas and talents of our community. We had speakers on topics ranging from energy and sustainability to history and museums to psychology and professional development. We had two musicians perform, one folk singer/songwriter and one indescribable remix of a popular song, as well as a spoken word artist.
In the interest of keeping this event going each year, each organizer plans the event for just two years and trains the next leader, so sadly this was my last year in charge of this incredible event. It is bittersweet to realize I am passing this event on and entrusting it to someone new, but I know that it is in good hands with Sam and his next co-organizer. I can’t wait to see what this grows into as it changes and improves each year.
This is something special. Our campus will continue to be defined and inspired by events like this – events that are planned and executed by students for students, driven by innovative ideas and aimed at changing perspectives.
Every year, TU students anxiously await one of our largest campus events—Springfest. Springfest generally takes place in the weeks between Spring Break and Finals as a nice end of the year celebration for students. Every year the week has a fun theme, a great concert, free food, and tons of crazy activities.
Student Association organizes and sponsors Springfest, along with other campus events. My freshman year I served as an Associate Director for the event, and this year I was lucky enough to be chosen as the Springfest Executive Director. Two years ago when I served as a committee member, our theme was “Blast from the Past.”
Each day was filled with activities that fit a specific time period: Medieval Monday, Western Wednesday, etc. During Frozen Friday, I dressed up as a giant snowman and walked around to take photos with students. We also had a huge inflatable snow globe on Chapman Commons that students could climb inside for pictures. Some of our other fun activities that year included a 90’s themed “Throwback Thursday” carnival with tons of fun games and a slime machine. On Medieval Monday we served turkey legs and set up a huge lava pit and inflatable jousting game. On “Tie Dye Tuesday” every student was given a free shirt to dye. These are just a few of the awesome activities we planned for the week. On the following Tuesday, we hosted our annual Springfest concert featuring Panic! At the Disco. As a committee member, I was fortunate enough to actually meet the artists and hang out backstage before and after the concert. It was an amazing experience, and I knew that I would have to do it again if I got the chance.
Fast forward to the end of sophomore year. The Student Association Executive Director applications went out, and I came up with a proposal for the 2016 Springfest Theme. After presenting my ideas to the Executive team, I was given the position and couldn’t have been happier. Now after an entire year of planning the day is almost here. I have an amazing committee who has been working incredibly hard all year to help me bring the theme to life. In less than two weeks we will reveal our theme and the activities for the week to the student body, and in just three short weeks it will finally be here. Springfest is set to take campus by storm on the last week of March.
The following week on Tuesday, April 5th, we will host our annual concert that will be featuring Misterwives, the Mowglis, and our opener Knox Hamilton. This concert is free to students, but is open to the public for just $15 general admission tickets. If you live near the Tulsa area and would like to join us for the concert and get a taste of Springfest yourself, just visit TicketStorm.com to order tickets.
Be sure to check out my next post for a Springfest follow-up with pictures and commentary about our event!