Support Humboldt State University
Below, Alumnae Heather Bernikoff-Raboy shares why she gives to Humboldt State University.
As a fellow alumnus of Humboldt State University I'm sure you're very grateful for your education and cherish the memories of your time at HSU. For me, HSU was a safe place where I could grow and discover who I was, free from the pressures of conventionality. For me, it's the absence of convention that is one of several things that makes HSU so unique and special.
Coming to Humboldt was a culture shock, but in a different way than for many of my peers. Instead of coming from a big city, I moved to Humboldt from Groveland, a tiny town in the Sierra Nevada mountains in Central California. I immediately fell in love with the new experiences all around me, especially the food and the music. Everywhere I went there was art, and I met so many high quality individuals, many of whom I still communicate with today.
My life was changed as a result of the education I received at HSU. In my sophomore year, my Political Science professor opened my eyes to other perspectives. I learned how to look at things through the eyes of others and that my view on the world is not the only view. This is a value I have carried into my career and in life where I approach situations with a tremendous sense of humility.
I am so appreciative of my time at HSU and the scholarships I received. When I was asked to give back, I was glad to do so. Education improves life, encourages creativity and opens up opportunities. In a time when access to a good education is becoming increasingly difficult, with skyrocketing tuition and increasing government divestment, it is our responsibility as alumni to preserve the Humboldt we hold so dear, assist the next generation to obtain an education and help continue the university's success well into the future.
On a recent visit back to campus, it was great to see so many students learning the skills and engaging the issues that will improve the world. I had lunch with Eiliana (junior) and Ericka (freshman), members of MEChA who are returning to their communities to assist high school youth in choosing a path to college. I heard about Anthropology majors Safiya Bal and Shannon Willer returning to Belize to explore an ancient Mayan temple they discovered. I also heard about HSU hosting the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. One thousand students from 19 campuses traveled to Humboldt to perform, compete and network with their future peers in the industry.
Despite the recent budgetary struggles, Humboldt State continues to excel in many areas. Last year, for the second year in a row, HSU was recognized by the Princeton Review as one of the Greenest Colleges in the U.S.A. or Canada. The donor funded Shatz Energy Research Center (SERC) had its grand opening in September. Students, faculty and staff are working in the SERC on green energy projects such as bio mass energy generation and a test station for fuel cells for students in Abu Dhabi.
The Jacks have also been successful in many areas of athletics. This past year, new head basketball coach Steve Kinder was named NCAA Division II coach of the year. The HSU Cycling Club repeated as national champions with students Ryan Spaulding and Traci Kroll wining individual championships. Former HSU lineman Taylor Boggs was signed as a free agent by the New York Jets.
HSU is a special and diverse place which has provided us with so many great memories and opportunities. Humboldt alums are an awesome group of people! I have met alums either because of my HSU clothing or the sticker on my electric car. Recently I met Danielle (class of 2000) and her fiance Jay in San Jose just days before their wedding. Congratulations! I loved sharing my natural mosquito repellent with Steve (class of 74 -I think) and his wife from San Diego. While picking up some of the best blueberries I've ever eaten from a farmer in Atwater, he remarked that he sent his son Josh to HSU, and it was one of the most beautiful campuses he's seen. My political conversation with a 1970s HSU alumni couple at their daughter's garage sale in Walnut Creek made me feel like I was back at Café Mokka!
It is this natural connection that makes the Humboldt experience so prized. Please join me and more than 4,000 of our fellow alumni by making a pledge to the Humboldt Loyalty Fund.
Heather Bernikoff-Raboy (Psychology '93)
PS - Hello to my dear friends who I have recently spoken to. And, to the friends I have lost touch with, but spent so much fun time with at HSU, I would like you to know that I am well, and I hope you and your families are in the best of health and happiness.