Written by: Andrew Garison
JMU has many traditions, some of which date back to before Madison College became JMU. These traditions help to foster a welcoming campus environment that keeps students and alumni coming back to the campus. The Madison Society works to keep these traditions alive.
One of the flagship events that the Madison Society promotes is the Breakfast with the President. Once a year, a group of students get to sit down for a casual breakfast with President Alger. It’s a great chance for students to meet Alger and voice any questions, concerns, or feedback they have about university life.
Ten students were selected through a Google Form to participate in the event, bringing their own unique backgrounds and insights with them. Students of all different academic levels and majors were represented at the breakfast, including International Affairs, Theatre, and Communications majors.
After each student introduced themselves the conversations began. Topics varied over the course of the breakfast, but the general focus was on student life and what people thought of the campus environment.
One of the first questions President Alger asked was how the freshmen of the group were adjusting to college life. The new students have all enjoyed their time at JMU, but they did acknowledge that it is often difficult to find your place at such a large university. With so many people, organizations, and events, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle and feel alone.
President Alger offered up some advice on the subject stating, “One of the best things you can do for your fellow students is let them know they’re not alone.”
He also made a point to ask the seniors in the group how they were feeling about their upcoming graduation. For them, the feeling was bitter–sweet: they were happy to move on to the next chapter of their lives, but sad to leave the place they have called home for the past four years.
President Alger offered up some positive advice and assured the soon-to-be alumni that, “Wearing your JMU colors is a great way to continue to meet people from the community.”
Breakfast with the President is a great opportunity for students to voice any concerns they have about the university, and to even offer potential suggestions for improvement if they have them. Students brought issues surrounding diversity on campus, energy efficiency, and the struggles of transfer students to the president’s attention. He listened attentively to each student’s issue and offered a respectful and informed response to try and help the situation. It’s important to know that students can make a positive impact on the campus community, especially through this casual sit–down with the president.
This casual event is a long-running JMU tradition, and the Madison Society will continue to make sure it’s available for many generations of future Dukes. Be sure to watch for next year’s sign–up form and win a space at the table with President Alger.