By hosting Pirate Sendoffs, alumni help students feel at home at ECU.
ECU students have been busy moving into their dorms and apartments on campus this past week, but many of them already feel right at home after attending Pirate Sendoffs in their hometowns earlier this summer.
The East Carolina Alumni Association, along with the Office of Parent and Family Programs, hosted a series of Pirate Sendoffs across the Pirate Nation to welcome incoming students. Ten events were held from Charlotte to Washington, DC from July 16 to August 8. Students and their family members could meet other families from their area also headed to ECU in the fall. Alumni and ECU staff were on hand to answer questions and share stories and advice.
“It was really interesting to host a Pirate Sendoff,” said Carl Caulk ’89, who hosted the DC area event at his home with his wife Marla. “I thought the event was very successful. It’s neat to put yourself back in that position of getting ready to come to college, and it’s nice to remember what it was like.”
Students and parents got a lot out of value out of the experience, according to Caulk. “Not only were they able to meet and make connections, there was an overall increase in comfort level as they became familiar with the opportunities available on campus and experienced the Pirate family atmosphere. They heard us saying ‘You’re part of this family now.'”
“I would definitely recommend hosting a Pirate Sendoff to other alumni,” Caulk said. “It’s an easy way to get involved and help current students. The only thing we had to do was make our home available. The alumni association staff handled everything; they were great. I’m really glad we did it.”
Steven Beane ’89 (pictured left) and his wife Jennifer ’89 also hosted a similar informal gathering in Hickory, NC. Their son is a rising sophomore at ECU. They heard about the Pirate Sendoffs last year, but since there wasn’t one in their area, they decided to host one this year.
“We’re both ECU graduates, but sending our son to college has been a learning experience for us as well,” Beane said. “ECU has changed a lot since we were there. The biggest change is of course technology. Information is a lot more accessible now, but there’s still nothing like talking to people in person.”
Beane says his favorite part was making new friends and being able to help fellow Pirates by sharing his experience as an alumnus and as a parent.
“We’ve noticed a lot more alumni in our area, and a lot more student interest, so we’re trying to bring everyone together,” Beane said. “Whenever you find another Pirate, there’s a common bond there, and we want to strengthen that. Our area has not traditionally been a Pirate stronghold, but we’re trying to bring more information about ECU to western North Carolina.”
If you would like to host a Pirate Sendoff at your home, business, or other venue, contact Director of Alumni Programs Shawn Moore ’91, ’98 at firstname.lastname@example.org or 252-328-5775.
By Jackie Drake