By Mallory Sherwood, Staff Writer
Indiana Jones just entered Abilene – on a float that is.
For the first time ever, a university office is entering a float in the Homecoming Parade at 9:30 Saturday morning to compete with 27 student organization floats.
Matt Boisvert, director of the Career and Academic Development program, came up with the idea to create a float to enter in the parade competition.
“We were brainstorming what we could do for Homecoming to make a big impact and to get the alumni aware of what we do on campus,” Boisvert said.
The float is based on the Homecoming theme, “Go Wild with the Cats!” with its own theme of “It’s a Jungle Out There,” referring to the transition between graduating from ACU and entering the career world, Boisvert said.
Their Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-based float features a suspension bridge depicting the relationship alumni have with students to bridge the gap to help them find jobs and internships.
“Floats are usually entered by student organizations, like the social clubs, the Aggie club, Hispanos Unidos club and all the classes,” said Samantha Adkins, coordinator of Alumni Programs. “This is the first time I believe that an office has entered a float.”
Undaunted by this fact, the Career and Academic Development office began building the float last week.
“Although we may not compare to a social club’s numbers of around 100,” Boisvert said, “we still have a lot of enthusiasm for our office of four or five.”
The office is building the float at the home of Cynthia Cooke, a career and academic advisor in the Career and Academic Development Office.
“We’re probably going to be putting in 80 man hours into this float in the next couple of days, but we shouldn’t have a problem staying the $250 supply limit set by the Parade Committee,” Cooke said.
This year the six-member judging committee consists of Ann Varner, financial aid counselor; Debbie Williams, associate professor in the English Department; Steve Cunningham, vice president of First National Bank of Abilene; John Gonzalez, a representative from Wal-Mart and the final judge is a representative from United Supermarket.
The float categories judged each year are best men’s club float, best women’s club, best class float, best use of purple and best float overall.
“Even if we don’t win in any category,” Boisvert said, “the point is that we got our message out to alumni.”
Their message is to show alumni the opportunities they have to reach out to current students at ACU through CareerLink.
“Alumni are a key piece of all of what we do,” Boisvert said. “There is a real opportunity for alumni to get connected at ACU that is not us asking them for money. An alumnus can provide career mentoring and contacts for internships and jobs.
“To gauge whether this project has even been effective or not and if we do it again will depend on if we have a surge of alumni sign up to be mentors on CareerLink to students,” Boisvert said. “We currently have 800 alumni involved, but would love to see the alumni rally around the idea of helping our students to double our number.”
He said the office members also hope they can begin a trend for other university offices.
“We like thinking outside of the box to create awareness about what we do,” Cooke said. “Hopefully we are raising the bar for other campus offices and services that are not just student driven.”