It’s February - the month of LOVE.
To some, that thought may be joyful and full of excited anticipation. For others, it may simply be abysmal. Whether you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day this month, or Singles Awareness Day, love is an inevitable, and integral, part of your life.
We each have multiple, and varied relationships that are founded on some degree of love. Whether it be a cherished family member, an adored spouse, an admired friend, a beloved sports team or even a favorite dessert, the feelings are there. You can’t deny them.
Love is an interesting phenomenon. Think about it for a second. We all need it. We’re happy when we receive it and even happier when we give it away to others. It’s been referred to as the universal language, but the funny thing is, we don’t all speak it the same way.
In fact, Dr. Gary Chapman, a renowned author and licensed marriage counselor, claims there are five different languages of love:
· Words of Affirmation
· Acts of Service
· Receiving Gifts
· Quality Time
· Physical Touch
In his best-selling book, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts, Chapman stresses that each of us feels loved the most when others share our Love Language with us. An example may be helpful.
Imagine this. Jake and Jamie are married. They have four kids, two jobs, an overwhelming house payment and a Great Dane, named Snuggles. Amidst the daily chaos of life, they’ve become so focused on keeping their children, employers and Snuggles happy, that they’ve forgotten about each other’s happiness. Their relationship has gotten a little rocky.
They’ve both read Dr. Chapman’s book and Jake knows that Jamie’s primary love language is Acts of Service. He also knows Jamie hates to clean up dinner. Speaking his wife’s love language, Jake tells Jamie to relax with her book (as much as she can with four kids) while he makes dinner and cleans it up afterward.
The result: Jamie feels sincerely loved. Way to go, Jake!
Obviously, that single act alone won’t guarantee this couple’s happily ever after. The trick is to speak each other’s love languages frequently and consistently over time.
Now shift gears a little. Instead of imagining a husband and wife relationship, imagine your relationship with your alma mater. Is it good? Bad? Somewhere in between? Do you feel like it’s mutually beneficial? Or is it one-sided?
Are we speaking your love language well enough that you feel appreciated by the university? In other words, can you feel the love?
We may not excel in speaking all of Chapman’s love languages, but here are a few we try to do well.
WORDS of AFFIRMATION
Our students, faculty and alumni are amazing! We’re constantly looking for ways to highlight their accomplishments and share the incredible things they’re doing. From this month’s Alumni Spotlight on Brittany Fisher to our recent Utah State Today article on Emeritus Professor David Lancy to our engineering students’ Personal Vacuum Assisted Climber on the Huffington Post, we’re proud of your achievements and love to talk about them.
ACTS of SERVICE
Utah State University faculty and students are involved in some of the most cutting-edge, influential research in the country. The work they do provides services and solutions to problems faced by people, communities, cities and nations around the world.
In addition, multiple USU organizations give students and alumni the chance to serve those in their communities and beyond. For example, the Val R. Christensen Service Center regularly organizes service projects both in Cache Valley and around the globe. The projects this group facilitates not only help those who are direct recipients of their acts of service, but it also serves the students and community members who volunteer, making their lives richer and more purposeful.
We all know the greatest gifts a university can give its alumni are the knowledge and skills to succeed in life. After all, we’re in the business of providing the best education possible. We also know that education comes with a price. Tuition isn’t cheap, but it’s an investment for your future, which is certainly worth making.
While there are expenses to graduating from USU, did you know there are also opportunities to get things for free? Here are some examples:
· Aggie Rewards – this is a mobile and desktop app that doesn’t cost a penny, but can have big dividends. Simply install it on your computer or phone and start playing. You earn points for things like visiting USU websites or social media sites. You can also earn points just for shopping online at some of your favorite stores (Amazon.com, Walmart.com, Best Buy, Kohl’s, etc.). Then you redeem those points for gift cards or a chance to win some amazing prices.
· Social media giveaways – follow the USU Alumni Association and other USU groups on Facebook and Twitter for chances to win additional prizes. In the past, we’ve given away football tickets, basketball tickets, Aggie gear and more. Trust me, it’s worth it to stay connected.
· Membership benefits – join the USU Alumni Association and receive all the benefits that come with your membership. Joining is easy. You have options between an Annual Membership or a Lifetime Membership. Visit our website for more details.
Our lives are full of online interactions. Whether it’s at work with colleagues, at school with classmates or at home with family, we’re constantly communicating with each other through electronic devices. That type of collaboration may be necessary today, but we also still believe in the incomparable value of face-to-face contact. We understand how spending time to develop a personal relationship can make a significant impact in someone’s life. That is why we host a number of events across the university. And they’re not just limited to the Logan, Utah campus.
The Alumni Association organizes pregame parties before football games on the road. We also put together parties for some of the basketball away games. These are great opportunities for alumni and friends to spend time together and with representatives of the university. All with a common bond of being an Aggie.
Cheering on your favorite Aggie sports team with someone you care about is another great way to speak the language of quality time.
In addition, the Student Alumni Association (SAA) organizes Alumnights throughout each semester. These events are networking occasions where students are invited to the home of an alum to share their professional and personal experiences and to connect with other Aggies.
Not only does SAA have opportunities like this, but networking events that bond students and alumni happen all the time throughout USU and its regional campuses.
We stay away from this particular love language, for obvious reasons. We’ll let you worry about it with your other, more appropriate relationships.
Dictionary.com defines love as a verb meaning “to have a strong liking for or take pleasure in.”
Here at the USU Alumni Association, we think this is a perfect definition of how we feel toward our alumni. We certainly have a strong liking for every one of our graduates and we take a great deal of pleasure in seeing you succeed.
As you do find success, please keep us informed so we can share your inspiring stories with others and we can all benefit from each other.
This Valentine’s Day make it a goal to learn how to speak the love languages of those who matter most in your life. Who knows, it may result in being the best Valentine’s Day ever!