Q&A with a student alumni ambassador

By Molly Nguyen, Contributing Writer

One of the biggest events on the University’s agenda is Homecoming. A lot of students celebrate it, but who plans it? Not just one person, that’s for sure. Homecoming is an event planned by our very own Student Alumni Ambassadors.

This RSO has roughly 90-100 members, and each contributes to the planning of Homecoming festivities. SAA is known for hosting many student-based events on campus and for promoting strong school spirit. 

Nick Sabri is a junior in LAS and Education, and here’s his input on SAA’s involvement in Homecoming.

The Daily Illini: What is SAA?

Nick Sabri: Student Alumni Ambassadors is a family. As one of the premier RSOs at the University, making each student’s Illini experience one they will never forget is what SAA does. We foster positive relationships with students, faculty and alumni to make this campus a great experience for all. We do this by planning many events like Homecoming. We also work hard to develop our members professionally and creatively. We push members to find their best selves while creating relationships that will become irreplaceable.

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DI: How long have you been involved, and what is your role?

NS: I’ve been in SAA since the second semester of my freshman year (so, about two years). I’m a general member, so I help out with all of the events that we put on, attend weekly meetings and promote school spirit and the work that SAA does. I also get to do a lot of really cool service requests for important people in our University. I’ve been an ambassador for alumni events at football games, and I’ve helped out with events that the president and chancellor arrange.

DI: How many people are in SAA?

NS: I think there are only about 90 people in total, so we’re a pretty close group of peers. We take about 30-45 new members during recruitment each year, depending on our numbers.

DI: As an SAA member, what will you be most excited to see and/or take part in this homecoming?

NS: So many things, I can’t really pick one. I like decorating and promoting spirit on the Main Quad and at big campus centers. I also love cheering on runners at the 5k and being in the Homecoming Parade! Seeing who’s on the Homecoming Court is really cool, too.

DI: What are some of the traditional events that most students look forward to during Homecoming Week?

NS: Besides the football game, the parade is really big. Community members from all around campus and the C-U area come together to celebrate at the parade and watch floats go by. Our Homecoming 5k on Sunday also tends to have a really good turnout.

DI: What would you recommend for students who are celebrating Homecoming for the first time?

NS: Wear orange and blue as much as you can that week! Be proud to be an Illini and be sure to stop by the Main Quad for lots of fun. Try to make it to as many events as you can, and check our social media to see when things are happening. The more involved you get, the better your experience will be. Embrace it all.

DI: What is your favorite Homecoming memory (so far)?

NS: My favorite Homecoming memory was the celebration on the Main Quad after the parade last year. The Homecoming Court was presented and fireworks went off; it was just a really beautiful night. The night felt surreal.

DI: If students want to get involved with Homecoming planning or other events throughout the year, how should they go about applying for SAA?

NS: Applications usually go live after winter break (at the end of January), and then the recruitment process is in February, so keep your eyes out for more information. Check out our official website, like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram and Twitter. All of that information will be available on those platforms, but don’t be afraid to reach out to an SAA member for more info as well.

Molly is a junior in LAS.

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