July 2018

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A Message from the RCAF Executive Director

RCAF Renewals by June 30: As we have communicated previously, the RCAF has switched their Fiscal Year from January-December to a July-June schedule to better align with the university calendar. Because of this, our renewal calendar was delayed a few months. By now, you should have received your 2018 RCAF Annual Fund renewal in the mail. Thank you again to those who have already made their contribution for 2018-19. If you have yet to do so, please consider making your gift as soon as possible.

Football Parking: Also new this year is the state requirement of parking passes being sold rather than given away based on your investment level to RCAF. If you intend to buy a parking pass for the 2018 football season, please do so immediately as these are in the process of being ordered from the printer. Reminder to check the RCAF benefits chart to see what lot you are eligible to purchase. All parking passes are $60 for the 2018 season. Contact the RCAF office with questions or to renew/purchase your pass.

RCAF Membership Packet: We have also received questions recently asking about license plates and car decals. Once again, due to the switch in the RCAF fiscal year, these packets will be mailed in July (the beginning of the new fiscal year). Rest assured you will be receiving these benefits as in years past. Be on the lookout in the next few weeks.

Please call the RCAF office at 337-851-2903 with any questions you may have regarding your giving status. If you make your contribution on time and in full at the same time every year, you will continue to receive all of your benefits, consecutive year’s points and recognition.

RCAF Office Address:
Lite Center
537 Cajundome Blvd. Ste 239
Lafayette, LA 70506

Thank you to everyone for your continued support and generosity!

Jim F. Harris
RCAF Executive Director

Check out the Ragin’ Cajuns Store’s new website showcasing over 850 of the latest Ragin’ Cajuns merchandise. Find hats, shirts, jackets and more from brands like Polo Ralph Lauren, Adidas, Nike, Under Armor and Columbia.

Don’t miss their watches, blankets, kid’s wear plus items for your home or patio. Ordering is easy.

Log on to TheRaginCajunsStore.com


RCAF Staff Spotlight

Meet the two new hires of the Ragin’ Cajuns Athletic Foundation, Alex Cook and Walker TR Rolen who both started in June. Alex will be the new Director of Major Gifts, while Walker will be the new Director of Annual Giving.

alex cook

Alex Cook
Director of Major Gifts

What attracted you to UL?

I have always had my eye on coming back here. Being born here with my dad as a coach, some of our best family friends being here, growing up singing the fight song with my sister on Christmas tapes for my grandparents, it was always a place that I watched and followed. As I got into my career it was one of the schools that you circle and say, “if there is ever a chance to go there I definitely want to.”

As this opportunity opened I started looking deeper into the school and having conversations in the community. What I found was incredible. The recent investments in facilities and budgets along with the vision and direction of the department make me truly believe that UL is poised to become the national brand and compete on a national scale like we all want to see happen. I wanted to be a part of that success and to help move a school I care about forward.

Talk briefly about your previous experience.

I came here from Texas A&M University-Commerce, but the majority of my career was spent at Boise State and Utah State. During my time there I fell in love with this size of department. It is exciting that we can step up and compete against the Oklahoma’s, Utah’s or LSU’s of the world, but at the same time we can still create truly meaningful relationships with our donors.

In my career I have progressed through marketing and sponsorships, running high end fundraising events, annual giving, and major gifts, so I understand and can work with people at many different levels of their involvement with a department. I am excited to be at UL at such a pivotal time, and look forward to getting out and learning about people’s experience here, being a resource for them, and understanding their dreams of what the Ragin’ Cajuns can be.

Favorite quote.

For a number of years now my favorite quote has come from my sister, Megan Cook. She is one of the most remarkable people I have ever met. She has traveled hundreds of thousands of miles across the globe as an ambassador for young women, science, education, and exploration. As a part of one journey she came up with a quote that I think is beautiful and simple yet extremely profound. She said, “be brave enough to live your life with joy.” It always makes me stop to take a deep breath and be thankful for both the struggles and triumphs on this miraculous journey.

What do you enjoy most about working in fundraising/athletics?

There are two parts of my job that I love and that put my feet on the floor in the morning. First, that I get to build meaningful relationships with people from around the region, state, and country who love the Cajuns. I meet people where they are and listen to their history and passion for the institution and hear their dreams of what they want this place to become.

The second thing is that I am lucky enough to have a hand in transforming the lives of our talented student-athletes. We have kids here who are first generation college students. We have kids whose parents met here, or their grandparents, aunts, and uncles all came to school here. Now those kids get to put that jersey on and they get to compete, but more importantly they get to earn an education that will be a part of them for the rest of their life. I feel extremely blessed that I get to work with people who share that same passion.

Walker Rolen

Walker TR Rolen
Director of Annual Giving

What attracted you to UL?

First and foremost, I think it’s the people that make this place so special. When I came here for my first visit, it didn’t take me long to realize that this was where I wanted to be. The leadership and vision within the athletics department stood out to me immediately through conversations with the staff.

The other thing that stood out to me was the passion of everyone here, which was certainly important. This was evident to me not only in the athletics department, but also on campus and throughout the community. I don’t think there is a more passionate group of people than supporters of Ragin’ Cajuns Athletics. The people, the culture, and the community are all things that obviously make this place special. UL has everything that I was looking for in a place to work as well as live and I really do think this is the perfect fit. I truly believe that we have the potential to do something special here and continue growing this athletics department beyond what many think is possible.

Talk briefly about your previous experience.

I first got into working in athletics while in school at Auburn. I got my first job as a student athletic trainer working for the Auburn Football team for four years. It was an incredible experience for me as I got to be a part of the 2010 National Championship team and I feel very blessed to this day to have had that opportunity. Being around the athletics department for four years, I got to kind of observe how the department operated from a distance. This piqued my interests in working in athletics and I wanted to explore other areas I could contribute and make a difference.

This led me to Troy University where I was a Graduate Assistant for External Affairs/Development, while getting my Master’s degree. It was here where I got my first taste in fundraising as well as ticket sales, events, operations, and marketing. After two years at Troy, I took a position with Rice Athletics, where I’ve been for the last two and a half years as the Assistant Director of Annual Giving.

Favorite quote?

That’s difficult to narrow down to just one. I’ve always loved reading about John Wooden. He had some great quotes and was an incredible leader.

“It’s the little details that are vital, little things make big things happen.”

“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”

What do you enjoy most about working in fundraising/athletics?

I’ve always been passionate about athletics and people, which is what led me to fundraising in athletics. In this profession you get to meet so many interesting and unique people from all over the place. I believe everyone has a story to tell if you just slow down and listen. I think listening is one of the more important and often overlooked traits that a person can have. Whether its donors, coaches, student-athletes, fans, or colleagues, I enjoy getting to know people and building meaningful relationships. Being able to see student-athletes have opportunities and achieve success is what it’s all about, and we all play a role in their experience while here at UL which will have an impact on them throughout their life and careers.


Compliance Corner

Pre-Existing Relationship

The NCAA has a four-part test to determine if a relationship between a booster and a prospective student-athlete is pre-existing:

1. Did the relationship develop as a result of the athlete’s participation in athletics?

2. Did the relationship begin prior to the athlete becoming a prospective student-athlete?

3. Did the relationship develop prior to the athlete attaining fame due to his or her athletic ability or accomplishments?

4. Have the benefits offered to the athlete before and after the athlete’s attainment of athletics fame been consistent?

Must be consistent in both nature and value

Ex: use of a beach house- likely impermissible if it was not available before the athlete gained fame for his or her athletics accomplishments

Remember that a prospective student-athlete is defined by the NCAA as an individual who has started classes for the ninth grade.

Please ask the Compliance Office if you believe that you have a relationship that may meet the criteria above. Please do not assume that your relationship automatically meets these criteria. Providing benefits to a prospective student-athlete or student-athlete without meeting this test could render an athlete ineligible and result in punitive actions against you as a booster, possibly including disassociation from the University.