“Why I Remain Close to Lehigh” is a collection of feature stories about Lehigh University alumni volunteers and their motivation to stay involved with their alma mater. The group of alumni were interviewed by Klaudia Jazwinska ’18 and Carina Bonasera ’19.
If you see the young man dressed as an engineer in blue-and-white-striped overalls cheering wildly at Lehigh events such as the annual Lehigh-Lafayette rivalry football game — that man is Jarred S. Barnes ’13 ’14G, showing off his enormous pride for his alma mater.
“I started probably my sophomore year. There was a group of seniors that dressed up, and they were all engineers – real engineers – and they dressed up as Lehigh engineers, and I just adopted it to myself as a way to get involved,” Barnes said of the act that has since become his personal tradition.
This is the kind of passion and commitment that Barnes has always shown toward Lehigh. As an undergraduate majoring in political science, Barnes was class president, a tutor, a member of the Association of Student Alumni, a member of Phi Delta Theta, an Admissions Fellow, and a member of the Lehigh club baseball team, and he was involved with the Community Service Office and worked with campus athletics. He continued his education at Lehigh and earned his master’s degree in political science as well.
As an alum, he works with the Alumni Admissions Outreach program and was a co-leader of the Class of 2013 Group Scholarship with fellow graduate Rosie Roessel ’13’ 14G. Group scholarships allow alumni to pool their resources to help fund an annual scholarship for a deserving student at Lehigh.
“Being able to speak to our classmates and raise a fiscal scholarship for somebody was extremely rewarding,” said Barnes. “If it wasn’t for scholarships, we wouldn’t have been able to afford Lehigh.”
Helping current students the way that he feels alumni helped him is what drives him to be so supportive as an alumnus.
“[Lehigh] is a place where some of us spend four years or more…in the years that we’re growing as a person. By staying involved with the alumni association, by staying involved with the different organizations that we’re part of, whether it is through volunteering or through a fiscal donation, you’re able to help those who are coming now [to Lehigh] really go forward.”
Barnes also emphasized the importance of coming back to school events like Reunion, Rally, and Lehigh-Lafayette rivalry games.
“Come back to Lehigh! It’s always changing,” he said. “You might remember Lehigh for what it was like when you were there, but now it’s time to remember Lehigh for what it is now, for the change, for the next 150 years. The one thing that binds us all together more so than brown and white is South Mountain. And that’s always going to be a part of our history, it’s always going to be a part of us, and we should make it a part of others.”
— Carina Bonasera ’19
Photo by John E. Harry, Photographic Arts