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Alumni and Vis Center Funding on Track
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Lukulos Offline
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Post: #21
 
NIU85Alum,

You missed my point. The point that I am trying to make was that no matter how much they spend on this alumni visitor center, that me (An Alum) could really care less if it gets built. And me (an alum) who visits mulitple times throughout the year, will not step foot in such a building. I have no use for it.

The reason why the football facility gets linked in there is because we've all heard about the proposed facilitiy that needs donor financing. But, we go ahead and overpay for an alumni visitor center that will not really add any value to the university. If the Barsema want this wasted facility, so be it, let them pay for it. But don't drag the rest of us in on financing of a building that will eventually be rented out or shared with one of the other colleges on campus.

That is the point that I'm trying to make. We're wasting $6.2 million, that would be better suited going toward a football facility to be used for recruiting. Which then brings in better recruits, which then leads to bowl appearances, which then leads to larger attendence, contributions and sponsorship revenue. Basically adding value to the university. My question again is, what good does this alumni facility bring to the school ? Can it be linked to a larger revenue pool down the road?
01-29-2004 04:04 PM
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NIURedBlack Offline
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Post: #22
 
[quote="niu79"]Since the campus west of Lucinda is an eyesore, could you propose a fund raiser to plant trees and shrubs.
01-29-2004 04:24 PM
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Post: #23
 
Lukulos Wrote:NIU85Alum,

You missed my point.  The point that I am trying to make was that no matter how much they spend on this alumni visitor center, that me (An Alum) could really care less if it gets built.  And me (an alum) who visits mulitple times throughout the year, will not step foot in such a building.  I have no use for it. 

The reason why the football facility gets linked in there is because we've all heard about the proposed facilitiy that needs donor financing.  But, we go ahead and overpay for an alumni visitor center that will not really add any value to the university.  If the Barsema want this wasted facility, so be it, let them pay for it.  But don't drag the rest of us in on financing of a building that will eventually be rented out or shared with one of the other colleges on campus. 

That is the point that I'm trying to make.  We're wasting $6.2 million, that would be better suited going toward a football facility to be used for recruiting.  Which then brings in better recruits, which then leads to bowl appearances, which then leads to larger attendence, contributions and sponsorship revenue.  Basically adding value to the university.  My question again is, what good does this alumni facility bring to the school ?  Can it be linked to a larger revenue pool down the road?
How exactly are "we wasting $6.2 million dollars?" Who is "dragging the rest of us in on financing" the building? These are illogical statements. "We" aren't wasting anything. Giving to the project isn't some legally mandated law of the land - either people are supportive and gave, or they didn't. In this case enough people are supportive and enough have given. NIU has put zero money into the project.

Where exactly is the difficulty in this for you (said in the least condescending tone I can muster)?

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01-29-2004 04:58 PM
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RobertN Offline
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Post: #24
 
niu85alum Wrote:Apparently logic and basic understanding are two things you didn't pick up in your NIU education. To repeat for the logic challenged. The alumni/visitor center project is 100% funded by contributions from alumni and other donors. The model to build a new football facility will be the same. How hard is this to understand? The donor community decides what gets built and what does not. In the case of the Barsema Alumni and Visitor Center, the alumni and donor community has come out in strong support of the project via their pocketbook. Lining up big donor money was a fairly smooth task. Beyond the gift of $2.5 million from the Barsema family, a host of other significant contributors donated at the 5 figure and 6 figure level. The project was officially presented to everyone and opened for all to contribute during last year's homecoming game. Since then the dollars have poured in to the level where the project is now a go.

NOBODY PUT A GUN TO CONTRIBUTORS OF THE PROJECT. THEY HAVE SUPPORTED THIS PROJECT BECAUSE THEY BELIEVE IN THIS PROJECT. Like me, many have enthusiastically and generoursly supported the concept. Why? Because many of us think the university came up with a wonderful concept to enhance the image of our campus, reconnect with alumni, and have an added vehicle to recruit the best and brightest students in the future.

FOR THE UMPTEENTH TIME, THERE IS NO CONNECTION BETWEEN THE ALUMNI/VISITOR CENTER AND A NEW FOOTBALL FACILITY. IF THERE IS SUPPORT AMONG THE ALUMNI AND DONOR COMMUNITY FOR THE CONCEPT OF A NEW FOOTBALL FACILITY, THEN IT WILL HAPPEN. If not, then it won't.

EXACTLY WHAT IS SO HARD TO UNDERSTAND!!!!!
I think we know that it will be funded by private donations. There is no loss of logic there. I understand that Barsema is once again giving a $h!t load of money for the alumni center project and not the football facility. That is why they went ahead. What I am saying is if you tap all your resources for this project, what will be left for the football facility? Please explain to me how a alumni/visitors center is going to bring alumni back? What does it do that the current alumni house can't do? They are going to put a library with faculty written books and a ballroom. Is that going to bring the alumni back? Doubt it. Now that the big donors(and small) have given for this project and gets built there likely won't be anything/much left for any other projects(including the football facility). If we don't get the facility, eventually our recruiting will suffer and Novak may get frustrated and leave/retire because of no action on the facility. Guess what, we are getting students because of the football team's success. We lose that and we are right back to where we were where nobody cares about the football team/school and we are back to no donations from alumni. I am not against the building I am sure there are some who may go there but my guess is that they will still send those postcards for athletics trips however very few will ever use the facility. It will look better than the house but I just question the need for it at this time(maybe Barsema said now or never, if that is the case fine lets do it). The football facility just seems more important at this time. There are major changes in the football world coming up. I would think this would help sell us if some of those rumors on the MAC board come true. What if Toledo and Miami leave? That doesn't leave much in the MAC. We could easily be shipped to 1AA if there is no place to go. I know the average student may not care but I know you do and I know I do. We need to be in the best possible position to succeed in the future(academically and athletically) I just don't believe the alumni center achieves either of those. It is something nice to have but not absolutely necessary to move the university forward. Lets just say we agree to disagree.
01-29-2004 05:44 PM
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Huskiebandwagon Offline
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Post: #25
 
Many interesting and good points have been stated. Let me add this to the mix. Might the Alumni Center take some of the financial support for a possible football facility, yes. If both options would have been purposed to the large donors at the same time which might have won their support, who knows. I think if you look at Universities with new construction going on, sometimes it can be a "keeping up with the Jones' thing". First Barsema, then Miller, then ???
01-29-2004 07:38 PM
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Flying Corn Offline
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Post: #26
 
I really believe these are mutually exclusive projects, and it's erroneous to think one is happening at the expense of the other.

Also, IMO, academics MUST ALWAYS take priority over athletics. This can't even be subject to debate. If we even consider making athletics the priority, then something is very, very wrong with us as a community.

If the feeling is the visitor center will improve NIU academically, then that should be the fundraising priority.

But again, it certainly sounds like two seperate and distinct groups of alums have been targeted for the different projects.

I certainly hope we can get both done. As usual, I'll be doing what I can to help and certainly hope all the other alums on this board are regular contributors to NIU, or are at least members of the Huskie club!!
01-29-2004 09:15 PM
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Post: #27
 
My final say on this topic. From what I have been told, upwards of twenty "big donors" contributed to the Alumni and Visitor Center project, not just the Barsema family (yes their $2.5 million gift was the biggest). Once the project gained its sea legs via big donor giving, it was opened up to everyone for giving this fall. Since then money from the broad alumni and donor community has poured in quickly to the point, as of the end of January, that as reported NIU is close to the target level needed to begin building. The conclusion to be drawn is that obviously there is/was strong support for building such a facility on the part of a wide swath of both big donors and the alumni donor community at large.

It remains to be seen if a similar happy ending can be achieved in terms of a football facility. Like the Alumni and Visitor Center, people will give to the football facility if they feel strongly about it. I suspect that a good number of people who financially supported the Alumni and Visitor Center project will also support the football facility. The most worrisome factor is that apparently very few in the big donor community are charged up about the concept. And no its not because their tapped out from giving to the Alumni and Visitor Center project. After all we are talking about a university with hundreds of thousands of alums across the world! While upwards of twenty big donors contributed to the Alumni and Visitor Center project, only two "hard committments" and one possible maybe exist for the football facility. And being totally honest, if/when enough big money ever does get raised to allow giving to be opened up to everyone, I fear that not enough can be raised by those like us who care about the football program because there simply aren't enough of us.
01-30-2004 10:17 AM
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niuss Offline
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Post: #28
 
I think you have to look at the big picture regarding this facility. There are a lot of alumni who can care less about the football program, and have little interest in the university. There are about 125,000 Chicago area alumni and maybe 25,000 of them attended at least one game. Probably not many more have been on campus too often since they have been in school. These are crude numbers I understand, however if you had a facility that may bring back alumni to campus, perhaps they would find interest in other things such as the football program. That's what this facility will be--to attract alumni to see it and other things on campus.
01-30-2004 05:59 PM
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HuskieDan Offline
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Post: #29
 
It is foolish to believe that fundraising projects undertaken by the Foundation are mutually exclusive - it's simply not the case.

Any fundraising body prepares a priority list - it could certainly change at any time based on shifting priorities of the body. And while I don't recall hearing a peep about an alumni center until I saw a plane flying overhead on Homecoming Day, I'd be willing to bet that it was on a priority list at some point, just not at the top until someone decided it should be the top priority.

Once this list is put together, fundraising efforts are made to take care of the items on that list in order of priority - if a donor is not extremely specific about the gift (to the point of pulling the gift if not used to the donor's request) their gift will be directed towards what the fundraising body wants. Apparently at some point the top priority at the Foundation went from the football facility to the alumni center. The Foundation, and any such fundraising group, will manage donations to fit the Foundation's goals where possible, which is most often the case.

It's highly debatable whether an alumni center is a worthwhile fundraising effort at this time, especially considering that there is NO question what is generating alumni interest in NIU at this time - it is the success and national exposure generated by the football program. Making sure that the alumni are welcomed and are comfortable coming back to campus is an admirable goal, but in this case it appears that the why is being bypassed by one potential answer to the how.

Now, the Foundation had to determine at some point that an alumni center somehow could generate even more funds, but this is highly debatable - I personally take the "strike while the iron is hot" philosophy....the FB program is extremely successful and is generating interest, donors, increased applications, etc, so ensure that the FB program has everything it needs to continue these flows first, but that's just my opinion.

One thing is for sure - the feeling of 12 guys on a message board won't give us a true picture of what was most necessary. But fundraising for NIU is historically poor, so I'd be more apt to make sure that we improve the one proven method of garnering donations (exposure generated by the success of the FB program) rather than taking a last minute flyer on a unproven solution with some potential (a center to welcome back alumni with cocktails and sausages and crackers).

Is the Foundation truly willing to lose its best fundraising asset in order to try something new? Seems foolish to me.
01-30-2004 11:50 PM
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Flying Corn Offline
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Post: #30
 
So you're suggesting massive alumni donations are being directed toward an alumni center against the donor's wishes?

That seems pretty unlikely to me. Regardless of the foundation's priorities, donors are not going to allow their donations to be co-opted for projects they don't support.

The donor community is making this alumni center possible because they support the project, simple as that.

It remains to be seen whether there is comparable support for the football facility. I certainly hope there is, but unfortunately I'm not in a position to ante up six figures for it's construction... :(
01-31-2004 09:10 AM
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Lukulos Offline
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Post: #31
 
Flying Corn,

I'm a Fiance Major from NIU, so the term "Value Added" is very important to me. When I think about donating to the university, I want to know that my $ is adding value to the university. And my business mentality, makes me believe that there is no monetary value added to the university by building this Alumni visitor center. I think the only source of income that this building will generate is rental income from other departments because of the vacancy available because nobody will be using this building after the novelty wears off. On the contrary, I think a football facility will lead to better football teams in the future, which will be followed by Bowl Revenues, Increased Ticket and advertising revenues. So when the univesity asks me to donate money, I will definitely wait and give my money for something that will actually better the university, instead of giving to a pet project of a few administrators and large donors.

This is the point that I was trying to make.
01-31-2004 03:43 PM
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TropesNIU Offline
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Post: #32
 
the holmes student center sucks
01-31-2004 05:53 PM
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Flying Corn Offline
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Post: #33
 
Lukulos Wrote:Flying Corn,

I'm a Fiance Major from NIU, so the term "Value Added" is very important to me. When I think about donating to the university, I want to know that my $ is adding value to the university. And my business mentality, makes me believe that there is no monetary value added to the university by building this Alumni visitor center. I think the only source of income that this building will generate is rental income from other departments because of the vacancy available because nobody will be using this building after the novelty wears off. On the contrary, I think a football facility will lead to better football teams in the future, which will be followed by Bowl Revenues, Increased Ticket and advertising revenues. So when the univesity asks me to donate money, I will definitely wait and give my money for something that will actually better the university, instead of giving to a pet project of a few administrators and large donors.

This is the point that I was trying to make.
I get what you are saying and I don't begrudge you that right at all. But that's the exact point I was making to Dan; the Alumni center is being built by people who want an alumni center.
Likewise, the football facility will be being built by people who want it, as well. I'm not debating the merits of either from a financial perspective. To be honest, I think Dan is absolutely correct in his assertion the football building would likely generate much more revenue and notoriety for NIU than the alumni center. However, the people who are ponying up big bucks for the alumni center are doing so because THEY want the building.

You and I may question their financial priorities as donors, but neither of us can deny them the right to have their money spent the way they want it spent.


***One other thing-my earlier assertion about academics needing to take priority over athletics is based on philosophy rather than finance. I was just putting my two cents and I apologize if it served to further muddle this discussion...***
02-01-2004 08:40 AM
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Lukulos Offline
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Post: #34
 
Agreed,

Or our right not to donate for something we don't want. I just thought we (NIU alums) were being called "poor contributors" on this board. That's not the case. I just won't pony up money for something that I don't think is useful. Build something that I (as a donor) will appreciate and I'll gladly give some money to my alma mater.
02-01-2004 10:26 AM
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HuskieDan Offline
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Post: #35
 
Flying Corn Wrote:But that's the exact point I was making to Dan; the Alumni center is being built by people who want an alumni center.
Likewise, the football facility will be being built by people who want it, as well. I'm not debating the merits of either from a financial perspective. To be honest, I think Dan is absolutely correct in his assertion the football building would likely generate much more revenue and notoriety for NIU than the alumni center. However, the people who are ponying up big bucks for the alumni center are doing so because THEY want the building.

You and I may question their financial priorities as donors, but neither of us can deny them the right to have their money spent the way they want it spent.


***One other thing-my earlier assertion about academics needing to take priority over athletics is based on philosophy rather than finance. I was just putting my two cents and I apologize if it served to further muddle this discussion...***
Uh, not quite.

The Foundation is hitting people up for donations for projects, and right now their top project is the Alumni Center. Unless someone (like Lukulos) says specifically to them "I will not give if it does not go to the project I want it to go to", then it will go to what the Foundation wants it to go to.

Now, from this you can assert that there are several donors that just simply aren't that adamant that their money goes to the FB building first and foremost, to the point of pulling their gift if not. But there are people that have given wanting to help the FB building effort only to be steered towards the Alumni Center, though I don't have anything close to exact numbers. But this is what a fundraising body does - it has to accomplish its list of goals, and for some reason the Alumni Center is at the top of their list of goals right now.

Personally, I think the goals changed in midseason when they saw the attention NIU was getting because of the FB program. They figured that the FB program was already in good shape, so they could delay the fundraising for the endzone building and divert their efforts to the Alumni Center. This is hardly a Watergate scandal - good fundraisers can get blood from a turnip to pay for a turnip slicing machine. 03-lol

I question the true value of the Alumni Center, but admit it is entirely debatable whether it is any more or less worthy than the FB building. You can easily argue that an Alumni Center exists almost specifically to foster better relations with alumnis in order to solicit them for donations in the future, while the FB building would simply be to ensure continued success with the hope that it will bring exposure and donors.

But I do think that the success of the FB program is being used for another pet project and I wonder what the next pet project will be that comes along to take over top priority. Remember, all the attention and increased merchandise sales, ticket sales, applications, donations, etc, and all due to the exposure received by a tremendous football season. Good sports teams increase notoriety. IMO, take care of your cash cow to ensure it gives milk for a long time, or we could be back in nowheresville before long with an unused $6.5million Alumni Center.

As for having a right to spend your money the way you want - of course. But that's not how a fundraising body like a Foundation works. I mean, they're not going to tell you that you can't give to the FB building if you're adamant, but they're going to try like hell to fulfill THEIR goals with YOUR dollars.
02-01-2004 11:09 AM
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Post: #36
 
[quote="HuskieDan"] It is foolish to believe that fundraising projects undertaken by the Foundation are mutually exclusive - it's simply not the case.
02-02-2004 08:52 AM
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HuskieDan Offline
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Post: #37
 
[quote="niu85alum"] [quote="HuskieDan"] It is foolish to believe that fundraising projects undertaken by the Foundation are mutually exclusive - it's simply not the case.
02-02-2004 09:32 AM
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[quote="HuskieDan"] [quote="niu85alum"] [quote="HuskieDan"] It is foolish to believe that fundraising projects undertaken by the Foundation are mutually exclusive - it's simply not the case.
02-02-2004 12:59 PM
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Post: #39
 
"In point of comparison, around 20 big donors were lined up for the Alumni and Visitor Center project in fairly short order (Dennis and Stacy Barsema the biggest at $2.5 million"

That is great we have 20 big donors lined up but how many were told about the football facility? How many of those big donors will now be able to afford a donation for the football facility? Quite frankly we don't have lots of "big donors" at this university. We probably don't have many/any more than who have given or are on lists to give.

I had never even heard of such a project(A/V C) ever mentioned before Barsema decided we should have one. Now, I do appreciate all he has given the university and I understand he wants academic buildings(does the A/V C really qualify?) because to him that is more important, as it should be(we should start thinking of changing the schools name to Barsema University) but to take the next project(football building) off line to accomodate him, I just have a difficult time seeing the fairness to Joe and the football program for all they have given the university.

"While I see a bigger need for the Alumni and Visitor Center project because what it will mean for the stature and physical appearance of NIU"

Please (seriously) tell me how the A/V C will increase the stature of NIU? I suppose it wil increase the physical appearance(although if I remember correctly, it really doesn't fit with other buildings in the area but that is the case all over campus so this really wouldn't be any different) so I will agree with that part that it will help the appearance.

Again, we will have to agree to disagree.
02-02-2004 02:26 PM
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