SIDAR – Athletic Development

My mom always told me to be frugal with my time, and never let anyone else spend it for me. I think this summer I can say I couldn’t have spent it more wisely. And, I know they say time flies when you’re having fun, but what do they say about time when the excitement never runs out and you finally come to grips with gravity? I know, I’m not quite sure either.

Closing in on the finish line to this innovative internship, it would be inaccurate for me to say that I did not learn a lot from this great opportunity. Like many students at Rutgers, I never realized the titanic influence that the Rutgers Foundation has on the whole institution (as well as our state of New Jersey and beyond). They basically help fund a majority of what is going on here at Rutgers, and yet, if you ask 100 kids on campus what the Foundation is and what it does, 90 of them would not even get past the first question. Tragic! Believe me, I was nowhere close to being an expert on what the Foundation actually did either, but by the end of my first day on the third floor of Winants Hall, I knew I was in for an enlightening summer with the Athletic Development team. The walls that became my new element would stretch my knowledge and professionalism to new heights, and I had no choice but to fasten up my seat-belt for the ride.

It took a bit longer than I’m proud to say before I realized that late-nighters and too much sugar in your coffee, was not actually not a clever tactic. Come to find out it actually does the adverse job (fun fact), on top of ruining your health if that wasn’t enough. Fortunately, as I sat in on more meetings and figured I could slip in my valuable comments here and there, I enjoyed even more the thought of leaving my cubicle for great adventures outside of my little abode. Interestingly enough, I also enjoyed the sight of my squishy dog and coffee mug, because I also dealt with some intriguing tasks for my team back there. From assisting with a brand new initiative for passionate alumni called the “Captain’s Program,” to interacting by phone and email with some of our top athletic donors for the 50 Yard Line Dinner event, adapting to this new world was pleasantly easier than I had imagined (you’d be surprised how many voicemails you can leave in one day, but I digress). Although, I must say without such an understanding and close-knit team nurturing my progress, it would’ve been just a tad tougher to develop into the everyday white-collar-and-a-tie-wearing young professional that I am today. I’ve learned that every single thing, no matter how minor, has the effect to change and impact someone’s relationship to Rutgers, so we must be cognizant of this in our every task, and in how we represent ourselves. I think it’s fair to say we have the BEST team in the foundation, no doubts about it. A special shout out to Lucy Cruz and Joe Levine for always including me and my fellow athletic development intern Emma in on most projects they work on, and bearing with us every time we ask questions.
My fellow cohort of interns deserves a shout out too, because they’ve also helped me take more initiatives and responsibility for work-related efforts, and there is definitely no lack of energy and enthusiasm among them. They are all walking philanthropists, looking for a way to help others however they are capable to do so. This was on display Monday July 25th, thanks to Sean and Marina’s brilliant idea. All together with some United Way representatives, every SIDAR went to volunteer at the Jamesburg Elementary School to hand out our personally made kits to a few first graders, and just show them how fun it is to read and be a grown-up. In a way we kind of got the chance to be big kids again, and play childhood games like ‘Crazy 8’s’ and ‘Go Fish’, and it felt good seeing all the kids enjoying themselves in our presence. During how many other internships can you say that you spent half of your day volunteering with kids, and hopefully turning on the light for even just one kid’s journey?

You see, I cannot just recount bits and pieces that make up the parts of this journey, nor give you hand-me-down experiences of our adventures, but I can tell you it wouldn’t be the worst idea to try and write your own story. One day millennial giving will be the new standard of living here at Rutgers, and I’m proud to be the part of the genesis to bring this culture to an eventual realization.

Thanks a lot, RUF.

Yvans Tsague
SIDAR – Athletic Development

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