Over the holidays while visiting relatives in Philadelphia, I was inspired by a large poster I spotted in a restaurant that caught my eye. It was entitled “How To Build An Ideal Community Spirit,” and was a list of items that was to me a great mixture of practicality, humor, wisdom, and eloquence. I have tried to capture all that here —I think (and hope) it applies to our Illinois Tech community.

How to build and maintain community spirit at Illinois Tech

  • Smile when talking to others.
  • Get some exercise every day.
  • Always be positive.
  • Consider “problems” as “challenges” and always think of solutions.
  • Help others in need (including lost dogs and cats).
  • Get some training in areas you may not be confident in (such as public speaking, writing, playing a musical instrument, leadership, etc.).
  • Laugh a lot (mostly at yourself).
  • Remember, as Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
  • Take good care of your health, your appearance, your finances, your reputation, your family, your friends, and your car.
  • Think before you say or write anything. Remember, nothing in this world today is “off the record.”
  • “Step up to the plate” and take responsibility when it is needed.
  • Ask questions and show interest in others.
  • Take time to appreciate the arts. They can add a depth and meaning to one’s life.
  • Fix things even if you’re not the one who broke them.
  • Learn something new every day.
  • Focus your full attention 100% – on only one thing at a time.
  • Think before you react, especially if you are upset or angry.
  • Support your school in every way you can; your school has a key role in your career as a professional.
  • Find something to appreciate in everyone you meet (even those you may not be fond of).
  • Every day, think of one new and creative way to use something you have learned.
  • Don’t overeat or drink more than you can handle.
  • Take some time to read a history of IIT. You are likely to discover an amazing fact that you didn’t know of before.
  • Every day, do something to widen your personal and professional network.
  • Never, ever, ever give up.

And especially if you are a student: 

  • Teach others, formally or informally. It’s actually a great way to learn things you are studying.
  • Take advantage of the wide range of services that IIT offers to you as a student. (Most students in most universities don’t, even though it is one of the benefits of their tuition).
  • Cut your deadlines in half. For example, if you have a report due in two weeks, get it done this week.
  • Always be open to trying different ways to study and learn.
  • Don’t rely on enthusiasm or “being in the right mood” or even being “interested” in order to be motivated to study. Studying should be a decision you make to do the things you need to do to be a successful student.
  • Get to know your faculty. They will usually go out of their way to share their knowledge, wisdom, and experience.


By Sander Marcus, Ph.D.
Career Consultant
Career Services at Illinois Tech
How to build and maintain community spirit at Illinois Tech