Keeping up with Texas Tech events and campus culture has shown to be an influential part of post-grad life. It is no secret that school spirit is a large part of the college experience, but being away from campus does not stop alumni from staying connected.
“We like to make a weekend out of home games, but when events are hosted in the DFW area, it becomes a place to congregate with alumni and friends,” Cari Woolf Norz, of the graduating class of 1998, said.
Through the Texas Tech Alumni Association, graduates can maintain connections wherever they reside. Chapters located all around the U.S. have provided a sense of Tech community for alumni to stay involved.
Christopher Richards, President of the Alumni Association in Orange County from the graduating class of 2002, said he has slowly grown away from some of his college friends since graduating, but his new alumni friends have now become close family friends due to his involvement in the association.
“That is kind of the thing I like most about Texas Tech, we have so many different traditions,” Richards said. “We have the Masked Rider, we have Raider Red, we have all these different things that we can use to promote our school and show our spirit when we come together.”
The Alumni Association is not the only campus organization promoting this sense of community. The Texas Tech Spirit Program offers a variety of events on and off campus to bring individuals to the university environment.
The involvement of the Spirit Program builds on the aspect of school spirit, Stephanie Rhode, Tech Spirit Program Director, said. Due to the fact people cannot just go up and meet these athletes, these individuals are creating a relationship element to these events.
“I think we are a bridge to so many aspects of the university,” Rhode said. “We are a bridge to alumni, but also young future students because when Raider Red, a cheerleader, or even a dancer come to interact it makes a big difference. These individuals are the embodiment of Texas Tech to them, and it is so powerful.”
Jared and Sarah Roberts, from the graduating class of 1998, said now that their oldest son is committed to Tech for the fall of 2021, they have been able to make up for lost time by coming to games, events, and revisiting their old Lubbock stomping grounds.
While students are experiencing college life in a new way due to COVID-19; this is a good opportunity to get to know the people near you, especially those living in the dorms, Sarah Roberts said. Take this time to become closer to them.
“You can still wear a mask, you still can have as much fun while being socially distant, supporting your school, and showing that Texas Tech spirit,” Jared Roberts said. “It shouldn’t have an effect on how you live your college experience.”
Sarah Roberts said due to everything going virtual, there has been an upside to the COVID-19 closures, which is being able to connect more with her college roommates and friends.
“These interactions can still happen, just in a modified way,” Sarah Roberts said.
These memories speak towards the alumni experience. Both the Roberts family and Norz stated how coming back, connecting to others and even having their children commit to Tech, happened because of their school pride.
Tech is the place where people mature and become responsible, so Norz said not to take things for granted.
“It seems so crazy, but that’s what driving into Lubbock means to me...that I am home,” Norz said. “Every time I pull into campus I cry, it just gives me this sense that, ‘This is it. This is home.’”