Earlier this spring, RIT/NTID alumna Brandi Rarus visited campus to sign her book, Finding Zoe. While she was here, the former Miss Deaf America took time out from her schedule to meet with students in their classes.
By taking the time to give back to her alma mater and meet current students, Rarus became one of the latest alumni to give some NTID “LOVE.”
Participating in the “Got NTID LOVE?” project enables qualified alumni who demonstrate a desire to stay connected with the university to join a network of likeminded Leaders of Volunteer Engagement (LOVE).
Joining Rarus in this network is Muchineripi “Muchi” Chienje, who staffed the NTID Alumni Relations booth at both the Rochester Deaf Festival this summer and the AppleFest on campus this fall. Chienje spent his time helping to connect local alumni with current students, further cementing students’ awareness of the significance of the RIT/NTID experience.
Volunteer efforts are not limited to Rochester and may span the country or even transcend its borders. For example, Carmen “Caya” Consuji and Susie Lai coordinated the RIT/NTID exhibit at the biannual Deaf Women United conference in Berkeley, California, this summer. Consunji and Lai’s efforts meant alumni who attended the conference had the opportunity to connect with each other, despite the geographical distance from RIT/NTID.
“Volunteering is a priority because RIT/NTID helped me grow as a person,” says Consuji. “It’s been years since I was on campus, but the opportunity to network is really nice.”
Daniel Santos also was instrumental in hosting an NTID alumni gathering this spring at Signs Restaurant in Toronto, Canada’s first restaurant staffed by deaf servers. Because of Santos’ participation in the Got NTID LOVE? project, RIT/NTID was able to reach out and connect with its international alumni, while treating them to a networking opportunity hosted at the site of a popular entrepreneurial venture.
Got NTID LOVE? is a volunteer engagement initiative first conceived by former NTID Alumni Association president Angie Officer. She wanted to provide resources for RIT/NTID alumni interested in volunteering, and at the same time, find ways to recognize and express gratitude to alumni volunteers.
“The NTID Alumni Association board sees firsthand the positive impact here at RIT/NTID when alumni give their time,” says Officer. “It’s a gift that keeps on giving in many intangible ways.”
Alumni often are vital to fundraising efforts, and volunteers can support NTID’s Development office on targeted projects. Alumni who take the time to talk to prospective and admitted students in their own geographic region often represent a level of authenticity that has a positive impact on recruitment efforts.
“We have 8,000 NTID alumni,” says Officer. “Each and every one of those alumni has the power to make an amazing impact, both on the college and on the lives of current students through our networking and fundraising efforts. Scholarship support is more important than ever, and alumni can help make a huge difference.”
For example, “it helps new students and [recent grads] to meet and know that there are RIT alumni who succeed and can be role models,” adds Consuji.
Leaders receive a T-shirt with the project logo, which was designed by RIT/NTID alumnus Matt Daigle, a cartoonist known for the “That Deaf Guy” series.
Alumni who are interested in joining the effort to give some NTID LOVE can visit http://www.ntid.rit.edu/alumni/volunteer.