Last August, at the national Conference for Student Advancement in Louisville, KY, Ouachita’s annual Tiger Tunes won the award for Outstanding Student Advancement Program presented by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE ASAP).
Ouachita beat out over 700 other big name schools and universities for the nomination. Out of the 200 present at the conference, notable universities like University of California in Los Angeles and Smith College were among the eight other colleges that were nominated. Along with the award came curiosity from other university students and advisers, with some wondering what Tiger Tunes even was, and others wanting to get a piece of the action.
“Other universities have reached out asking about how they can create something similar, which is fun since Baylor University’s Sing event is what we modeled Tiger Tunes after, just with a philanthropic goal for scholarships,” said Jon Merryman, Ouachita’s Director of Alumni Relations and the Ouachita Student Foundation. “I think our students can be proud that the work they do with Tiger Tunes was recognized in such a big way at CASE.”
The Ouachita Student Foundation (OSF), the student-led organization that is responsible for hosting Tiger Tunes, has only been a member of CASE ASAP since the fall of 2017. Despite this, OSF took home the award for Ouachita and Tiger Tunes and were even invited to present at next year’s national conference in Baltimore.
“When we joined CASE ASAP last fall, I knew I wanted to nominate Tunes with the anniversary coming up – not knowing if we would even be considered since we just joined the organization this year,” said Merryman.
Ouachita Student Foundation leaders Alec Edmonds, Selby Tucker, and Jaret Webb were the ones who accepted the Outstanding Student Advancement Program award for Tiger Tunes. These representatives of OSF also showed off their school spirit and garnered the Roll Call Spirit Award on the first night of the conference.
“For 40 years we have known how great Tiger Tunes is but now, with this award, we can say how great it is and show the facts,” said Edmonds, a senior mass communications major and the current President of OSF. “We have an award that represents our idea that we’ve had for 40 years, that Tiger Tunes is not only encouraging student bodies to get involved, but it’s also raising scholarships for students. I think that’s what’s key.”
So key in fact, it’s the reason Edmonds says he is at Ouachita.
“I know personally, I wouldn’t even be here if it wasn’t for an OSF scholarship,” said Edmonds. “This program is not only giving people education, but it’s also connecting people and giving them a reason to love and feel loved by this University.”
Tucker is a junior accounting major that currently serves as External Vice President for Ouachita’s Student Senate, as well as Vice President of OSF. On top of filling these two positions and preparing for her future role as President of OSF, she is also directing the Tiger Tunes show for The Women of EEE.
“As Vice President, I spend a year learning and leading. I learn how to be president and I lead very much by example,” Tucker said. “Receiving the CASE award is an honor to all OSF members, past and present. Tiger Tunes grows to be bigger and better, raising more money for scholarships every single year, and we have every single member of OSF to thank for that – not just one person and certainly not just myself.”
Webb has been part of the Ouachita Student Foundation for 3 years and currently holds the Chair of Special Events. As chairman, Webb helps plan OSF’s main two fundraising events, Tiger Tunes and Tiger Traks.
“Back in it’s infancy, early OSF members found that a lot of students who had prominent leadership roles, outstanding character and an amazing love for Ouachita were not able to stay past sophomore year and finish their education,” Webb said. “They decided that we as an organization could put on a show that raised money for student scholarships so that students who needed those funds could stay here at Ouachita and finish their degree. By winning this award, it only validated even more that Tiger Tunes is an amazing student advancement program that helps so many students stay here and complete what they started.”
Tiger Tunes, the student-produced, song-and-dance competition, marks its 40th anniversary this year and shows great promise to be one of the best years yet. Since it started, Tiger Tunes has raised more than $1.5 million for scholarships with a record-breaking year of $100,000 at last year’s event. With the satisfaction of the CASE award under their belts, the OSF team as well as the many club and organization directors, hope to break last year’s record and produce the best show in Tiger Tunes history.
By Adam Chapman, staff writer