For any of you who may have taken a summer class as a student, served in an internship or worked a summer job in Morgantown, I think you will agree that things are generally quieter during the next few months, with the majority of our students off-campus over the summer. We recently posted an image on the WVU Alumni Association Instagram account from 1981 that I thought captured the overall “feel” of living in Morgantown, as a student, during summertime. Depending on when you attended, you may also remember Sunnyside looking like this during your days on-campus.
While it’s generally slower in Morgantown from late May to early August, the pace picks up significantly for our 66 alumni chapters across the country. When they aren’t busy being ambassadors for their alma mater or doing service projects to better their local communities, a number of them will be focusing on planning and hosting signature alumni events. A few upcoming ones that immediately come to mind are the Low Country BBQ Bash, Greater Fredericksburg BBQ Festival, Boone County Pig Roast, Tidewater Picnic, Central Pennsylvania Golf Outing and National Capital Area Crabfeast. These important activities provide an opportunity for engagement, and many of them also raise money for student scholarships. Just last week, I addressed a group of Mountaineers at the Potomac Highlands Scholarship Golf Outing and reminded them that it would be a day of fun, full of gold and blue camaraderie, but that their presence was also providing the means to allow someone the opportunity to fulfill the dream of receiving a life-changing West Virginia University education.
Whether you're a recent graduate who just moved to a new city or you’re an alum that’s lived there for a while looking to meet fellow Mountaineers, I encourage you to visit our website and connect with your local chapter. You won’t want to miss out on the opportunity to join in the fun with fellow alums at one of the many special events and outings planned this summer.
Along with celebrating what it means to be a Mountaineer during their signature events, there are many ways the work of our chapters on behalf of their alma mater brings me a sense of great pride and joy. One extraordinary example is their commitment to our annual WVU Day of Service. It’s a shining example, the essence of how our chapters live out our shared Mountaineer values. During this transformational day, groups around the country select a project or organization to support that’s important to their community. For the 2023 Day of Service, alumni chapters served animal shelters, cleaned up neighborhoods and roadsides, assisted local food banks, built homes with Habitat for Humanity, filled Little Free Libraries, and gathered clothing for the underserved, just to name a few of the projects that were completed. Every year I look forward to seeing the pictures of our alums in action, wearing smiles on their faces, donned in gold and blue. To highlight some of their great work, I wanted to share a few of the photos with you.
Emerald Coast Chapter volunteering at their local food bank.
Lone Star Chapter cleaning their local beach shore.
Tidewater Chapter cleaning up litter in their local area.
Connecticut Chapter completing a roadside cleanup.
Northwestern PA Chapter hosting a three-day Goodwill collection.
Potomac Valley Chapter collecting trash in their local area.
University Chapter volunteering with the Mon River Conservancy.
There’s never been a better time for you to join your local alumni chapter. At their core, these groups are dedicated to service and providing a venue for mutually beneficial connections. We all know that there is nothing Mountaineers enjoy more than being with, and helping fellow Mountaineers. Whether you enjoy giving back to your local community alongside other like-minded alumni, are interested in helping to move West Virginia University forward through volunteerism, or would just like to meet up with passionate alums to celebrate the Mountaineers during a game watch, our chapters offer something for everyone.
And, last but certainly not least, to all of our incredible volunteers around the country, thank you for all that you do to lift up West Virginia University by living our institution's core values and spreading the spirit of what it means to be a Mountaineer in your communities.
I look forward to seeing more images and hearing stories of alumni connecting with other alumni and friends through our chapter network. And, maybe we’ll run into each other at one of this summer’s signature events. It’s always a great day to be a Mountaineer!
Kevin Berry ('94, '95)
WVU Vice President of Alumni Relations
CEO of the WVU Alumni Association, Inc.