2016 is already shaping up to be a fantastic year for Tigers for Tigers. We could not be more thrilled to announce the addition of a new tiger mascot school to the National Tigers for Tigers Coalition. Welcome, East Central University, to Tigers for Tigers!
Tigers for Tigers at East Central University, located in Ada, Oklahoma, is led by President and founding member, Alyson Chapman. I had a chance to talk with Alyson to learn more about her passion for big cats, living in Ada, and why she wanted to start a Tigers for Tigers club at ECU:
Taylor: What year are you at ECU and what is your major?
Alyson: I am in my second year at ECU, and I am majoring in criminal justice with a concentration in law enforcement.
T: What are your favorite hobbies or activities outside of the classroom?
A: I am a member of Zeta Tau Alpha, and the Chickasaw Learning Community. I do a lot around campus to promote my culture and educate others about the Chickasaw nation. When I’m not in the classroom I enjoy spending lots of time on social media, and playing video games. I also enjoy crafting, reading, and spending time with my pet tarantula, Motley.
T: Tell me a little about ECU and Ada, Oklahoma. How many students attend ECU? What's it like living in Ada?
A: Ada and ECU is what you make of it. We are very small and only have about 4,000 students. The best way to describe our college is that it is small enough to know everyone, or big enough to not know anyone. Ada is a moderately sized city surrounded by very small rural towns. Ada is the place everyone in this area travels to for Walmart, the movie theatre, and an Applebee’s.
T: How did you first hear about Tigers for Tigers?
A: It all started when the T4T Twitter page had a contest to retweet to enter to win a tiger koozie. Someone I followed retweeted this onto my timeline, so I had to check it out. After going to Twitter I learned what T4T was and that I wanted one at my school.
T: Why did you want to start your own Tigers for Tigers club at ECU?
A: I have always been very passionate about tigers and my university. When I first came to ECU I was on the cheerleading squad and loved promoting tiger spirit. After I left cheerleading I wanted to continue that spirit and passion and try to bring it to other students. Also there was no organization for tiger conservation on campus, so I was left to just tweeting to my followers. After I learned that a lot of students were unaware of the situation of wild tigers and wanted to help, I began to work on ECU T4T.
T: Why are you passionate about big cats?
A: This is a question I have been asked many times, where I got my passion though, I do not really know. I have always been fascinated by big cats ever since I was a very little girl. I learned when I was very young that tigers were endangered, and this was terrifying news to me then. Now that I am older I still worry about the future of big cats, but now I have a way to help out.
T: What are you most excited about with regard to Tigers for Tigers this semester?
A: This semester I am most excited for the recruitment part of it. I look forward to gathering students and educating them so that when we come back in the fall we are ready to go to work. I am also excited to get our name out around campus and the students.
T: Ok last question: If you could sing one song on American Idol, what would it be?
A: Definitely “The Gift” by Seether. I love heavy metal and rock music, and that is one of my favorite songs to jam out to in my car.