Rickus Interruptus: Shawn Selby ’92 "replies all"

Hello Brothers — Undergrad and Alumni.

Greetings, from Detroit — the home of Super Bowl XL. The building I work in is right across the highway from Ford Field and the view from my office is the stadium itself. The excitement around here is feverish, and Motown is going all out for the Big Game.

Please forgive what may be the longish nature of this email, but I promised Rick MONTHS ago I would write something. So here goes:

Thoughts on Homecoming 2005

This was my first visit back since Homecoming 2000. One of the reasons I had stopped going back was that during the 1998, 1999 and 2000 Homecomings, we never, EVER saw any actual UNDERGRAD Delts. Except for Matt Dole. We came to believe that there were no other undergrads, just Dole. We had a theory that there once had been undergrad Delts, but Dole had eaten them.

But this year was different. Lots of undergrads. There’s about 257 of them, I think. I didn’t meet all the undergrads, but I enjoyed meeting those that I did, except for maybe Jonathan McEldowney. It was also great seeing my fellow alumni, except for maybe Dan Moorman.

Gib and I got to spent some time hanging out with undergrads Will Kauff and Dave Borrelli, and that was really cool. I also had a chance to get to know Goose Kitson, who is a one of my Little Brother descendants. And I was please that the line descending from him has split in two.

Shorter message to the Undergrads: We alumni don’t just come back to see other alumni. We come to see the undergrads, too.

Side note to the alumni: God, you people are looking so old! Except for Hartsy, who looks younger now than when he was an undergrad. And me, of course. I still look like I’m 25, just barely older than the undergrads …. I SAID I STILL LOOK LIKE I’M 25!!!!

Ideas for Homecoming 2006

Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, we didn’t have a lot of alumni visitors for Homecoming. But that was because we didn’t have a lot of alumni. When I initiated in 1989, I was the 200th Delt initiated at EU.

At that point, the chapter was barely 20-years-old and had less than 170 alumni (there were some lean years in the late 1970s and early 1980s; it is amazing the chapter survived).

But we went all out anyway, hoping we’d get more than just a handful of recent graduates visiting us. A key aspect was that we were required to be at the Shelter when not obligated for other activities, whether we lived there or not, and to be downstairs to meet and greet alumni (whether they showed up or not).

Times have changed. There’s now upwards of 400 alumni. You now have the resource that we lacked and really wanted — alumni. Treat us well. Make us feel welcomed. Give us something to do.

In fact, think of Homecoming as “Rush for Alumni.” Use the same skills that you do to get pledges.

Don’t just hide in your rooms. We aren’t gonna go up there looking for you all. None of us want to visit rooms that smell like someone’s cooking socks and jock straps. Well, most of us don’t.

Putting out a guestbook Friday afternoon to sign and then playing football with us (well, some of us) on Sunday isn’t much of an activity schedule. (Yes, we kept busy all weekend doing our own things, but give us a reason to come down to the house at certain times.)

I’d like to see the undergrads stage a performance of one of the public rituals. It will allow the alumni to reconnect with THE RITUAL and remind us of what being a Delt is all about. And it also gives our spouses, significant others and guests a glimpse into this part of our lives.

And it puts alumni and undergrads in the same room and provides opportunity for interaction.

Yes, dealing with us alumni can be a pain in the ass. But remember, you are undergrads for four years — except for maybe McEldowney — but you’ll be alumni for the rest of your lives.

Make yourselves available to get to know us, and to hang out with us. For those of you who are of age, go downtown with us. Let us buy you drinks. Among the pantheon of great memories that I have from DTD are some that I spent hanging out (and drinking) with alumni. Open yourselves up to those experiences. Allow yourselves to make memories of fun with alumni.

Shorter message to the Undergrads: Give us something to do, preferably involving interaction with the undergrads.

Web site

The undergrads have done a great job redesigning the chapter Web site and updating the content. Visit it here at http://www.marietta.edu/~delts/ if you haven’t seen it already.

Some advice to the undergrads:

1. In the roster of undgrads, include where you are from and tell us your campus activities. That gives us a better picture of who you are than just your name, class year and major.

2. A picture isn’t always worth a thousand words. Write captions for all of your photos. We like looking at photos, but we don’t know who is in them or what is going on. Be descriptive, tell us who is in the picture, what they are doing and where they are doing it at.

Shorter message to the Undergrads: Your Web site is a tool to help the alumni be connected with you.

Alumni information and relations therewith

The chapter Web site has a section on alumni, and on that page the undergrads are seeking advice from us about what kind of content it should have.

I’m not of the mind that they should be producing alumni content. I think that is our obligation. We should take that off their hands. They have enough to do.

This is a conversation that we need to have among ourselves. I’m willing step up on this issue, in terms of helping to provide content.

I assume that the chapter still has a director of alumni relations. Again, that’s an area that I think we need to be providing the leadership on. Perhaps House Corps should appoint an alumni director of alumni relations (a better title will have to be arrived at) to work with the undergrads on alumni relations. I would volunteer, but I live six hours away. This should be someone who is a lot closer to Marietta. But I throw this out in the hopes that we’ll talk about it.

Thoughts on the 40th

After the 30th anniversary, then-Chapter President Matt Dole and I produced a very large special issue of the newsletter celebrating the 30th. It was a good example of an undergrad-alumni project.

We should do the same thing this year, except that we should produce a joint publication before the annivesary to spark attendence for the celebration. We should then follow up with another publication celebrating the event.

If you’ll have me, I’ll step up and do that. If not, go to hell. Just kidding.

I also have mentally designed a poster based on the Big Brother/Little Brother board. It would be a color, glossy commemorative item that we could sell to cover the cost and to make some money on. I am willing to step up and do this too, but I’d like House Corps and the Chapter to greenlight it. If OK’d, I would need an undergrad to assist.

Final thoughts (Rick Neel is a Delt God)

If you’ve stayed with me this far, congratulations. You are doing better than me. I mentally checked out after the first five paragraphs of this email.

When I first met Rick at Homecoming, I made fun of him for his series of disjointed emails that he had sent out before Homecoming. But after talking with him, I gained an appreciation of what he’s trying to do and for his enthusiasm for building excitement for the Chapter and for the 40th.

His enthusiasm is contagious. Keep up the good work, Rick. I have your back.

Hope to see you all at the Golf Outing,

Shawn “Sluggo” Selby, ’92