December 03, 2003

I don’t know how they do it, but colleges and their alumni associations always find you, even after you’ve managed to escape their clutches for several years. It’s almost creepy, as if they asked around until they found someone who knows someone who knows you or something.

This certainly has been true of the two universities I attended and the affiliated alumni associations to which I am supposed to, or at least could, belong but don’t: the University at Albany and the University of Virginia. Friends and family have made similar observations with respect to their own schools.

Once they find you again, and they will -- both schools found me quite recently after a long hiatus, the simultaneous reconnection itself sparking suspicion -- prepare yourself for the inundation at the mailbox. Just yesterday, in fact, I received two different mailings from Albany and one from Virginia, the latter coming close on the heels of the association’s magazine, which arrived here late last week.

It’s like they want to catch up really fast. Not “catch up” in a “Hey, what’s up with the disappearing act? We were worried about you. What’s new in your life?” sort of way, but rather in a “Hey, reach for your checkbook and give until it hurts, buddy” kind of way.

They always want -- and ask for -- money, whether it’s the annual campaign, the centennial campaign, the bicentennial campaign, the 21st century campaign, the college campaign, the president’s campaign, the alumni campaign, the class campaign, the athletics campaign, or whatever. And for what? Practically anything, it seems: expanding the library, constructing a new field house, upgrading the performing arts center, installing wireless internet connections in every dorm room, building cooler digs for the alumni association staff, the list goes on.

Enough already. Save it, people. Check back when I’ve had the opportunity to prove, yet again, that the degrees I earned were worth the time, effort, and, well, money.


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