I'm a Cubs Fan the Way I Want to be an Alum

Yesterday I wore one of my (many) Cubs shirts to work - this one my #1 Cubs dad tee. I love it. It's comfortable. It's also a representation of one of my greatest passions, the Chicago Cubs. This passion of mine reminded me of alumni engagement because, as I walked to work, at the office and walking home with my son and mother-in-law, half a dozen people screamed, "Go, Cubs!" Go, Cubs, indeed! I'm a part of something as a Cubs fan just as I am part of something as an alum.

Yep. The Cubs have broken my heart for decades on the diamond. But do you know why I follow them? Lots of reasons. My immigrant grandfather carried a bat for them in the farm leagues. I grew up spending summer afternoons in my basement listening to Harry Caray and rooting for guys like Andre Dawson, Greg Maddux, and the one and only Ryne Sandberg.

And you know why else? Because the Cubs, somehow, have built a culture you can't help but fall in love with. One of their best young players, Anthony Rizzo, invests a lot of time and money in his Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation. He regularly visits with young cancer patients, having beaten cancer himself, before and after games. And, oh yeah, he's an all-star.

They can lose as many games as they want and I'll always love them because they have a clear and open culture that makes me proud to associate with them. And every year I donate in some way through the team. I get to do two things at once - show my support for the Cubs and impact a charity that's close to me.

This is the foundation for great alumni engagement that results in giving. I love my alma mater, the University of Arizona. Wherever I am, if someone's sporting a UofA shirt I'll stop them and say, "what year were you!? Don't you miss it???" But when I get a nebulous ask, I check out. Yet, the UofA has the same culture in athletics that my Cubs do.

This last year, our football team visited with young patients at Phoenix Children's Hospital. In watching that video, the UofA should have asked me to donate to their world class cancer research center. I love the UofA, scream late into the nights here in Boston for our football team, and would love to be part of curing childhood cancer. Through the UofA I can affect almost any change I can dream of. The trick is lining all those connections up. We're proud, at QuadWrangle, to be doing exactly that.

Now, to write some checks...

Nick Zeckets