Small gestures offer support system for alums in need

By Rick Granite '88

Author Bio
City: Estero, Florida
Profession: Business Owner/Entrepreneur
Favorite UD home: 460 Lowes
UD Role: I am president of the Alumni Association Board. It’s great to come back to campus and share opinions with a diverse, dynamic group who works on behalf of all our alumni to better the University and the alumni experience.

After recent natural disasters, the Alumni Association Board decided to send emails to alumni in affected regions of the country. We wanted to share our support because of this common bond we have as UD alumni. It was a way to say we’re thinking of you and sending our prayers, and it was an opportunity to let alums know the steps UD and Campus Ministries took to help.

The response we received to the emails was touching. Many alums replied to ask how they could help others in their area and to offer any resources they have, from open rooms in their home to donating meals or furniture to those in need. Alumni replied to say the gesture was unexpected but comforting in the difficult time. These replies were a reminder that the little things- whispers- make the biggest difference.

UD taught us that you get through the difficult times by working together. Service and the importance of being engaged in my community are part of my family’s values, and those values were certainly reinforced during my years on campus. They are still true on campus today as students celebrate Christmas on Campus or take part in the newer opportunities to stay connected to the local and global community and practice social responsibility.

When we face challenges, it brings out the best of the human spirit. I live with my family in Florida and, like many alums across the country, decided to take action in my local community. We volunteered  with the local food pantry, helped remove debris, tear out drywall and clear out homes. This spirit of community is why alums are reaching out to ask how they can volunteer. It’s why the Houston Alumni Community is planning a service event to bring meals to those who suffered losses.

It’s important for us to reach out when we know alums are going through something like this. Having someone say they’re thinking of you can go a long way when you are wondering how to get beyond your current situation. It’s like sending flowers to someone in the hospital; the flowers may not speed the physical healing process, but it helps to know you have a support system. And, as Flyers, we always have a support system from the University and each other. Learn, lead, serve- It all plays an important role in framing who we are.

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