Last week, I was spending time with a group of alumni and they were asking me about the alumni association, what we do, how we’re organized, etc. This discussion and their questions made me realize that perhaps we need to do a better job of discussing the fundamentals of our Alumni Association.
The place to begin is by answering the most basic question: “Why do we have an alumni association in the first place?” Our “why” has been consistent since we were formed in 1873 - to be a valuable asset for our alumni, the University and the state.
When we do our job well, we help our alumni to succeed in their careers, we provide an intellectual and emotional connection for alumni with their alma mater, we serve as a safe-haven for alumni to provide feedback about the University, and we provide our alumni with a home away from home, the Erickson Alumni Center.
For the University, we’re a valuable asset by helping find alumni to recruit students, support research partnerships, provide internships and career opportunities and provide essential philanthropic support. We provide event space for meetings and banquets at the Erickson Alumni Center and find volunteers for a broad range of needs across all schools, colleges, and units.
For the state, our alumni are a key resource in helping to grow economic prosperity. Our alumni expand and open businesses in West Virginia and volunteer as mentors, advisors and investors in small companies.
How do we do this? We engage. We find and connect alumni to each other, to the University and to the state. We do this through our programs and services.
At the core of our services is our chapter network. These geographically-based groups led by volunteers provide a way for alumni to meet each other, network, socialize and volunteer. Our chapters provide scholarships for students from the local area and engage with parents of students. We have 75 such groups around the world and most recently launched 7 new chapters over the last year.
We also offer virtual networking via WVU Connect. This platform is where we house our jobs board and where alumni can find mentors and advisors to help them in their career. It’s also where we post local events and other activities happening around the country while communicating where you can volunteer to help. Please visit wvuconnect.com
Our latest effort and, perhaps our fastest growing program is the Mountaineer Alliance business network. This network is focused on helping each other in our professional careers, advising the University on programs to keep up with industry, and growing companies and jobs in West Virginia. Imagine what we can do if we can get our 200,000 living alumni networked and helping each other, the University and the state! If you want to be part of this network, sign up here.
We are a purpose-driven organization focused on being a valuable resource for you, our University and our state. Many thanks to each of you for doing your part.