During a recent weekend brunch, Case Western Reserve University's Student Turning Point Society (STPS) welcomed 17 new members who will serve as ambassadors to share the spirit of Case Western Reserve with alumni, donors, and friends.
Christened after the campus sculpture of the same name, the Turning Point Society also encourages students to contribute to the success of Case Western Reserve. Nine members who will return for the 2008-2009 academic year also reaffirmed their commitment to the philosophy that students are not only responsible for gaining from their university but also for giving to it.
Jeffrey Zabinski, the society's new executive director, said the STPS already has set its sights on a significant assignment for the upcoming academic year.
"We've been meeting with campus administrators about Case Western Reserve's future goals. One of our big objectives is to help with the early stages of the university's new strategic plan," the senior biomedical engineering major said.
The STPS members also see themselves as uniquely positioned to promote the university among fellow students, alumni and friends. Most already participate in leadership positions. They serve as class officers or on Undergraduate Student Government; they lead fraternities and sororities. They stand at the head of their classes with strong academic records and sound faculty recommendations.
"We're enthusiastic about being here, and we want to share that with other people," said Jennifer Rischar, former executive director of STPS.
"I've grown immensely since I joined (STPS), and I've gained even more respect for the university," continued the chemical engineering major who will graduate this month.
Zabinski said serving in the society has afforded him once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, like the chance to speak with Iris Wolstein, who along with her late husband, Bert, has been a significant benefactor to the university. The Iris S. and Bert L. Wolstein Research Building bears the couple's name, and Zabinski said he was moved to meet someone who has left a lasting legacy to the university.
The STPS is advised by donor relations staff of the Office of University Relations and Development. Recent activities include assisting at the opening of the university's new Alumni House and participating in formal events that connect donors, faculty, and students.
Because the organization is an honor society, which accepts undergraduates actively involved in campus organizations, most of the members are third- or fourth-year students. Applications, however, are made available to all undergraduates, and first and second-year students who demonstrate strong leadership qualities are invited to apply. Members are selected annually during a spring recruitment drive.
The STPS began in 1998 as an outgrowth of the Turning Point Society, a giving society that recognizes alumni and friends who have contributed $100,000 or more to the university during their lifetimes. STPS members are deemed future leaders who most likely will continue to nurture a strong bond with Case Western Reserve beyond graduation.
Rischar plans to do just that.
"My experience makes me want to come back as an alumnus," she said.
To learn more about the STPS, visit the group's Web site.
Case Western Reserve University is committed to the free exchange of ideas, reasoned debate and intellectual dialogue. Speakers and scholars with a diversity of opinions and perspectives are invited to the campus to provide the community with important points of view, some of which may be deemed controversial. The views and opinions of those invited to speak on the campus do not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration or any other segment of the university community.