Student Foundation: More than walking backwards


    Student Foundation members do everything from giving campus tours to prospective students to thanking alumni for their donations.

    But those who join Student Foundation (STUFO) also have to master the art of walking backwards. 

    Michael Ridings, a junior political science major and STUFO member, joked that his workout schedule consists of a 30-minute session on the treadmills walking backward and talking to himself as a way to practice guiding prospective students around campus.

    STUFO encourages meaningful interactions with prospective students, current students and alumni. According to the organization’s website, Student Foundation “is a service organization established in 1976 dedicated to promoting the welfare of the university.”

    Giving tours is the most exciting part of junior psychology major Savannah McDonald’s role with STUFO. 

    “It’s hands-down my favorite part because you’re there for the first time someone could be experiencing their future school,” she said.

    Most Student Foundation members give tours to prospective students once a week, although tours run twice a day during the week and once on Saturday, in addition to the Monday at TCU program, McDonald said.

    She said her most memorable tour experience occurred during the past summer, when two families told her their children were sold on attending the university after going on her tour. 

    “It’s just such a great feeling to know that you get to firsthand be a part of that experience,” McDonald said.

    Typical questions on the tour are about everything from parking to living on campus and meal plans, said Mary Ashley Ray, Student Foundation president and senior strategic communication major.

    However, Ray said she was once asked about the types of trees planted on campus. 

    McDonald said she was once asked if resident assistants make sure students are asleep each night and if they wake each resident in the morning.

    STUFO members infuse tours with their own personalities and often use jokes to charm prospective students, creating a memorable experience. 

    Ridings said he once told a tour group that the statue of the Horned Frog outside Dave C. Reed Hall was a life-size representation. He also joked that the lizards hunt at night and travel in pairs.

    Members of STUFO are also responsible for assisting at various university and alumni events, Ray said.

    “We attend these events to make sure our alumni and guests have a great experience, and we’re also there to give alumni a glimpse of student life today,” she said.

    Student Foundation also thanks donors and promotes student philanthropy initiatives, such as Count Me In and the Senior Class Legacy.

    McDonald said she enjoys calling the university donors and is always excited to experience a different conversation with each individual. 

    “Donors like to constantly remind me that I will find my ‘TCU prince charming’ and tell me not to worry about finding a husband,” she said. “It’s always comforting to get love advice from TCU grads.”

    Currently, there are 122 members of Student Foundation. Ray said 304 new member applications were submitted this fall, but only 50 students will be accepted into the organization.