It’s not just orange, though. It’s “stab you in the eye with how bright it is” orange. They’re not particularly flattering, and I kind of feel like a traffic cone wearing them. But I love them, mostly because of how comfortable I am in these orange shirts. Why do own so many? In a word…STRIPES.
Anyone attending Mizzou in the last five or ten years has at least heard about STRIPES, if not actually experienced the service this organization provides. For those who don’t know, STRIPES (Supportive Tigers Riding in Pursuit of Ensuring Safety) is Mizzou’s student-run, all-volunteer, safe-ride program. I have been a member of this organization since Spring 2011, an exec since Spring 2012, and I will be an assistant director come Spring 2013. Though I do hold an executive position, I should note that these are my personal thoughts and not the official word from STRIPES. This post is more about what STRIPES has done for me here in my time at Mizzou than about STRIPES itself. Just to be clear. And repetitive.
Let’s do a word count, shall we? In the above paragraphs, I wrote the word “STRIPES” six times. If you ask me about this program, our conversation will also be saturated with this word. Why am I so annoyingly name-dropping my organization? I can’t stop talking about it, that’s why. If I have one thing to say, I’ve really got 12 things to say. I could talk about STRIPES forever, mostly because it has slowly taken over my life.
Before my overprotective friends say to quit and get a life (love you, guys), I want to talk about why I love STRIPES so much and why I put so much work into it. Even if it seems like I’m dragging, I know my effort is put to the greater good. There are definitely some wonderful organizations that change lives here on campus, but not many get to say that they save lives. STRIPES members can say that, and that is a truly wonderful idea to me.
My main goal in writing this post is to thank all the people that make me proud to be a member of STRIPES. We have members that dedicate more than the required number of nights to driving their fellow Mizzou students home. Some go above and beyond to help out the executive board, including assisting with member interviews and speaking to their classes about STRIPES. I help lead an amazing group of team leaders that take the time to make STRIPES more fun for members who may not know anyone else. I love seeing the effort these members put forth, but my esteem and appreciation for these fantastic members is nothing compared to my fellow executives from this year.
This is a special group of people that put the safety of Mizzou and Columbia ahead of almost everything, doing everything they can to make STRIPES as successful as possible. I have been so happy to get to know them over the last year and call them my friends, and now most of them are moving on. They’ll stick around STRIPES for maybe another semester, but then they’ll graduate and have to join the real world. Those of us continuing on the exec board are hard at work putting together another great semester, but I know I’m going to miss these stellar people so much. I thank them for all the laughs, the memories, and the love they have shown me for the last year. As much as it hurts my heart that they won’t always be around STRIPES, I wish them luck with their future. They deserve all the happiness coming their way.