After 26 official years of providing alumni traditions, the University High School Alumni Association is facing a real possibility of dissolving.
Yes, you read that correctly and UHSAA is teetering on the brink of extinction.
Fate of the UHSAA is up to you.
From 1995 through 2018, there was an unwritten philosophy between the laboratory administration and the UHSAA. Because of the powerful acts of alumni relations that the UHSAA provided, the lab school superintendent would occasionally utilize discretionary funds from the general laboratory foundation account to bridge any small financial deficits of the UHSAA may have incurred in order to host our two modest signature events. The Alumni Awards and the Alumni Homecoming Social have become time-honored traditions, and U-High certainly loves and is known for its traditions.
However for the last three years, the lab school administration has debated about interpretation of foundation rules and regulations of what they could and could not pay for out of monies donated directly to the lab schools. So as a board we have waited for decisions to be made. And we have pivoted when asked.
Finally at our July 12, 2021 board meeting, we were told that the UHSAA must be completely independent financially effective two weeks prior to said meeting. The catastrophic, fatal blow came when we were surprisingly informed that the UHSAA would also have to assume paying for all of the costs of printing and mailing The Pioneer newsletter. Historically, the superintendent’s budget has always covered the costs of the newsletter. The current cost to print and mail almost 7000 full-colored, 12-paged newsletters twice a year is estimated at $9,040!
Now as a board, we are scrambling on how to stretch our dollars to cover costs and trying to make the best decisions for our fellow alums to uphold the most important aspects of our mission in our possible final days. So this is what we know to be true:
Annual costs to maintain UHSAA to maintain the awards, the social, and a printed newsletter exceeds $14,000.
We only have $6809.91 available in our foundation account currently.
The lab school administration’s vision has changed from the past and current key lab school administrator see no value of making alumni relations a priority.
Of our 8700 living Pioneers, the contact database has 6891 mail addresses and only 2510 (unverified) emails. Our Facebook group page only has 2579 members, and social media is a poor mass communication tool due to its nature.
In absolute transparency, we have decided to use our remaining funds to disseminate information of our plight by sending this newsletter that you are reading and to host one last Alumni Homecoming Social on Friday, October 8, 2021. This fall, we will not be awarding any alumni recognition awards not solely due the cost, but due to the fact that at this juncture of the pandemic, only faculty, staff, and students are allowed into U-High building.
We are asking you to send a working email address so that we can establish and maintain a no-cost method to communicate with you.
And we are pleading with all Pioneer alumni to consider making a financial donation ear-marked specifically for the UHSAA so that we may continue our mission. Without out a sizable windfall of donations, our future is dire.
And what is our mission you ask? For well over 25 years, the University High School Alumni Association has celebrated our fellow alumni, mentored currents students, augmented educational moments at University High School, and planned for future, incoming Pioneers and their potential experience. We can stand proudly knowing that the UHSAA has planted philanthropic and altruistic seeds among our fellow Pioneers to share their time, talents, and treasures to pay respect and gratitude to an institution, and its future students, that help mold our lives. Because of the efforts from the UHSAA, our beloved alma mater, University High School, has harvested a multitude of benefits and improvements afforded by millions of dollars in financial donations, equipment donation, supplies donations, and expertise time donations. Stroud renovation, fitness room modernization, science room renovations, gym air conditioning, students scholarships are just a few to name.
In closing, all of us on board want to thank you in advance for investing in our worthwhile, passionate mission by sending a monetary donation directly to the UHSAA. And remember that the UHSAA will need sizable budget year-after-year to maintain a printed/mailed newsletter, the Alumni Awards, and the Alumni Homecoming Social. Send your donations as soon as possible, as the UHSAA board will be making the hard, gut-wrenching decision whether or not to continue forward in January 2022. And if we do try to carry on, what traditions will we be able to afford to maintain? We invite you to send your thoughts and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The UHSAA Board
We have always maintained a small working account within the Illinois State University Foundation of donated monies that were earmarked specifically for the UHSAA. Throughout our history, we were thrifty on our expenditures (many of you can remember being called to donate cases of soda and water for the social) and certainly made all efforts to be good stewards of our modest resources. The UHSAA has never orchestrated a campaign specifically for our own behalf, but instead simply encouraged Pioneers to give back to the lab schools anywhere they felt there was need.