Jillian Boone (BA09) fell in love with Eastern Michigan University for the same reason that many other alumni, students and donors do: it just felt right. The former volleyball player first visited EMU on a recruitment trip, and it was then she decided Eastern was the place for her.
“I wanted to go to class and be around real people,” Jillian explained. “Everyone here is just working hard and making the best out of their situation.”
For the first few years, Jillian did not declare a major. She didn’t want to rush into a decision and pigeon-hole herself, but the clock was ticking. After talking with advisors and discovering her passion, she finally declared and graduated with a degree in public administration.
“I had no idea what I wanted to do… I still don’t!” Jillian said. “Students should know that it doesn’t make you weak or any less intelligent when you don’t know what you want to do at 18, 19 and 20 years old.”
Jillian is now a Magistrate and Court Administrator, as well as a proud alumni and member of the GameAbove at Eastern Michigan University advisory board. GameAbove is a team of passionate alumni who desire to make a difference for all of EMU and the Ypsilanti community. Members of the advisory board all have one commonality: a love for Eastern Michigan and a desire to give back.
“At our first GameAbove meeting, it was a very common sentiment that being at Eastern just felt right,” Jillian shared. “I was in the room with a group of diverse people who just wanted to give back to EMU.”
GameAbove was able to provide a way for Jillian to give back to EMU through channels she hadn’t thought of before. Many alumni think that the only step to making a difference is to have name recognition, or be able to contribute financially. GameAbove helped Jillian realize that everyone has something to give.
“Before, I had convinced myself that I couldn’t make a difference,” Jillian said. “But it really doesn’t take much. Share a social media post, volunteer to mentor a student, reach out to your old department to see if you can speak to a class. You have nothing to lose!”
Jillian finds joy in mentoring students, and it has been so helpful for both herself and the students! Even though GameAbove supports many initiatives as a group, each individual also has found a way that they can give back to the school that gave them so much.
One thing Jillian made clear is that everyone has something to give. Whether it is as minor as wearing an EMU hat or sending a note of congratulations to a recent graduate, you can do something to contribute to the success of Eastern Michigan. You are Eastern’s biggest asset. What do you have to lose?
“I truly believe the biggest barrier to alumni relations is the little voice in our head that says ‘I don't have anything to give,’” Jillian said. “The secret is that everyone has something that someone else wishes they had, whether that be a connection, an experience, an email, a share, a like, a smile, a dollar or a bit of advice. You do have something to give back. Believe it.”