SAA's newest event attempts to provide some sweetness during this week of sanity. And with Valpo's winters, who wouldn't want a nice hot cup of hot cocoa during the icy month of December? On the night of first semester Reading Day in the union, the Student Alumni Association will be handing out free hot chocolate. So when students are in desperate need of a study break, they can take a few minutes to warm up and enjoy a cup of hot cocoa. SAA is very excited to introduce this event in December - be on the lookout for more detailed information to come!
Every August on the Sunday of move-in weekend, the Student Alumni Association holds the Welcome Barbecue for incoming and returning students. This past year, the pep band, Crusaderettes, and cheerleaders come out to support the welcoming of our newest Crusaders! Originally designed to foster traditions and an understanding of Valpo history for new students, it has now become much more than that. The event features free T-shirts with “The Valpo Fight Song” lyrics on the back, live music, free food, Valpo trivia games, prizes, and decorations full of Valpo history facts.
The Welcome Barbecue continues to be one of the Student Alumni Association’s most successful annual events. It is a great way for upperclass students, faculty and staff to interact as well as to meet and greet new students.
Founders Day is the celebration and recognition of the founding of Valparaiso University. It is held on the fourth Friday in September, representing the midway point between the beginning of classes in Valpo’s founding year (Sept. 21, 1859) and the first day of classes in the year that Valpo became a Lutheran institution (Sept. 28, 1925). The purpose of this event is to establish recognition and a sense of pride on campus about the history of Valpo.
First celebrated by the Student Alumni Association (then known as VAULT) in 2001, Founders Day continues to develop each year to make a bigger impact on campus. During Chapel Break, members across campus hand out free birthday cake, and throughout the week of Founders Day, students can stop by the union to admire historical displays and browse through old yearbooks. Each year, the Student Alumni Association’s Founders Day committee works hard to bring a new component to the event.
Homecoming and Reunion Weekend is traditionally held at the beginning of October and is a time for alumni to come back and visit their alma mater.
Throughout the weekend, we help welcome alumni and guests to campus and support members of the VU Alumni Association as they put on Homecoming and Reunion Weekend events. We also sponsor mum sales, keeping alive the past tradition of women wearing mums during Homecoming, and we co-sponsor a Valpo-themed bingo night with the VU Alumni Association, where players can win great prizes while revving up their school spirit. Along with helping to coordinate these activities, we also spend a lot of social time with the VU Alumni Association Board of Directors to strengthen relationships between members of both organizations.
Homecoming activities help to preserve the history and traditions of Valparaiso University and foster relationships between current students and alumni. It is a prime opportunity to educate the current students about Valpo's great golden days, while showing alumni Valpo's progress in the recent past and plans for the future.
Usually taking place in late October, Family Weekend is an opportunity for parents and families to come back to campus for the first time since seeing their students off to college. Family Weekend is a great time for families to reunite, visit, and see for themselves what college life is like for their students at Valpo.
Like at Homecoming and Reunion Weekend, the Student Alumni Association assists with the registration of all campus visitors. At registration, we also sell buttons displaying “Proud Valpo Parent” and “Proud Valpo Grandparent,” which are hand crafted by our members. We also organize the annual Class Ring Ceremony. At this event, students who purchased class rings the previous semester receive them in a ceremony presided over by a member of the VU Alumni Association Board of Directors, and are taught about the tradition of the ring. We also co-sponsor the Family Weekend tailgate party with the VU Parents Council, where we help foster school spirit by handing out brown and gold shakers, the lyrics to the fight song, and Valpo “V” tattoos.
Family Weekend is another chance for us to educate more people about Valpo. Even though the majority of family members are not alumni, most still find it interesting to learn about a place that will be a part of their family for many years to come.
The inagural date for this event is March 20th, 2010. Similar to the CBS show the Amazing Race, this event will have students decipher clues that will lead them all over campus. The first team to figure out the clues and reach the finish line wins this Chase! This event is in honor of Valpo and SAA alumnus Hudson Evans, and the spirit he brought to campus. Sign-ups are March 15th-16th in the Union's Chapel View Lounge. If you have any questions please e-mail Molly.Thomas@valpo.edu.
The Graduation Grill is a barbecue sponsored by the Student Alumni Association, with important support from the VU Alumni Association. It is held to honor and celebrate seniors and the accomplishment of graduation, as well as to welcome them to the VU Alumni Association and share pertinent information about becoming alumni. The food is catered, music is provided by a band or DJ, and door prizes are given away throughout the evening. We also present Senior Choice Awards, which are voted on by members of the senior class, and recognize everything from most school spirit to smartest senior.
The Graduation Grill takes place in the spring semester during Senior Week, which is coordinated by the Senior Planning Council.
The VU Alumni Association supports the Graduation Grill by providing a gift for all seniors as well as information about the association. Traditionally, a member of the VU Alumni Association Board of Directors is present to offer a few remarks about staying connected to Valpo after graduation.
Keeping alumni engaged with their alma mater is not only a goal of the VU Alumni Association, but the Student Alumni Association as well. We hope that this message is conveyed through the Graduation Grill and will continue to resonate after graduation.
In 2002, the VU Alumni Association, with help from the Student Alumni Association (then known as VAULT), adopted an official class ring. With only one identical design, the class ring unites all wearers in a common tradition that instantly identifies them as Valpo alumni. Students are eligible to purchase the ring once they have achieved junior status.
Every spring we host Ring Days, a time when a representative from Balfour (our ring supplier) is present in the union to talk with students about the ring and take orders. You can see samples of the ring there (or at any time, by visiting the office of alumni relations at Loke Hall) and can be fitted for the right size for you.
The following fall, the rings are presented to the students at the Class Ring Ceremony, traditionally held on the Friday of Family Weekend. Students’ families are invited to see the rings presented. During the ceremony, students are instructed on the proper way to wear the ring, as well as everything that wearing this symbol of their alma mater means.
If you would like more information about VU’s Official Class Ring, including pricing, visit the Alumni Web site, stop in the alumni relations office, or talk with a Student Alumni Association member near you.
The victory bell came to campus during the 1956-1957 academic year as a gift from Oliver Graebner, a professor of education and psychology, and his wife. The old tradition was that the bell would be rung after any Valpo athletics victory.
In 2002, the Student Alumni Association (then known as VAULT) decided to uncover the victory bell out of respect for the old tradition. Trees and shrubs had grown to conceal much of the bell from view. VAULT members began organizing what would be known as the Victory Bell Cleanup. On April 17, 2002, members cut down the branches so that the bell could be seen again, and cleaned up the landscaping around it. The cleanup was a tradition of VAULT until the spring of 2005 when campus facilities management began to oversee the maintenance of the bell and continues to do so today.
After an absence of nearly 40 years, the Student Bridge enjoyed a triumphant return to campus in 2004. Initiated by the Student Alumni Association (then known as VAULT), and with help from Valpo’s chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and the 2004 Senior Class Gift, a portion of the bridge was brought back to campus and placed in a grove of trees south of the Chapel of the Resurrection.
Years ago, the full bridge stood on "Old Campus", spanning the ravine where the railroad tracks run behind today's Wesemann Hall, which houses the law school. The old tradition stated that if a couple kissed on this bridge for the entire length of time it took for a train to pass, the sweethearts would marry. This fondly remembered tradition earned the landmark the nickname of "kissing bridge" among students of the day. In the 1960's, the bridge was condemned by the city, but a portion of it was purchased and moved off campus to private property. Now this section of the bridge is back.
On October 8, 2005, the Student Bridge was dedicated and made an official part of the VU campus once again.
Visit the ASCE Web site for photos and more information on the Student Bridge.
It has been a long-time goal of the VU Student Alumni Association to have the fight song displayed permanently in the Athletics Recreation Center. Valparaiso University developed its modern fight song in 1956, under athletics director Karl Henrichs. Through the years, the song has been the championing cry of students, faculty, and Valparaiso community members alike -- anywhere that proud Crusaders are involved. With the support of many campus partners, the Student Alumni Association has worked hard to give the campus a banner that everyone can be proud of.
The Student Alumni Association would like to thank Adam Klos, Merel Nelson, Mark LaBarbera, (Department of Athletics), Fred Plant ( Facilities Management), and the many others who helped make this banner a reality. Without these people the banner that will forever aid everyone in the loud, proud singing of the fight song of this great institution would not exist.
On February 28, 2008, the Fight Song Banner was unveiled and dedicated during half time of the men's basketball game.