Alumni Association supports students post-graduation

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Danie Minor

Students at Kent State pass the Williamson Alumni Center many times, but most do not know the purpose of the Alumni Association. A lot of students think they are the people who call you immediately after graduation to ask for donations.

“It’s all about who you know. So if you can get involved with the Alumni Association, we can introduce you to some fellow alumni who are already out there in the field you want to get into,” said Vince Slomsky, the Alumni Association’s assistant director of new media communications. “You can have the best resume in the world, but… it’s all about who you know.”

Although the Alumni Association is geared towards engaging alumni back with Kent State and the Kent community, there are opportunities for current undergraduate students to be involved with the association.

“With current students, we have a whole week dedicated to seniors, where each day you…learn a little bit (about post-graduation life)…(or) learn about paying off your student loans,” said Dennis Watson, the Alumni Association’s assistant director of alumni relations.

Homecoming is a tradition that the majority of the Kent community knows the Alumni Association plans, but most think it is the only event the organization puts on. However, each year the association presents the Alumni Awards for five alumni and one current student.

“The Alumni Awards program is an initiative to try and share alumni success stories,” said Joy Wesoloski, the Alumni Association’s assistant director of outreach. “We want to really recognize what outstanding alumni (and one) current student are doing all over the world to represent Kent State in a great way.”

The Alumni Association is a resource for all Kent State students, current or graduated. If someone is looking to move or get a job in a new area, they can connect with the Alumni Association, who will then put them in contact with an alumni who can be of help.

“We’re here to answer any questions you might have. We are also here to share what is going on with the university. When you leave, you might not come back (for) a couple years or 20 years, and we’re here to be able to update you on what’s going on with the place you fell in love with,” Wesoloski said. “Donations are great for the university, but the Alumni Association is not… calling you for (just for) this reason.

“We are not the ones calling recent grads asking for donations or anything like that,” Watson said. “We are the ones, though, who will be calling just to see how you are doing.”

Getting involved as an undergraduate student seems like a contradiction, but Wesoloski notes that getting involved before graduation shows what students can take advantage and can offer themselves as an alumni.

“I think it’s really important for current students to get involved because they are our best ambassadors,” said Laura Andrews, the Alumni Association’s assistant director of marketing. “Letting them meet older members is really eye-opening for them to see how engaged you can continue to be with your university even after you graduate.” 

In order for a student to become a member of the Alumni Association, the costs  is $25 for the year for the first two years after their graduation date. After that, the fee is $45.

When a Kent State alumni becomes a member of the Alumni Association, they can always expect to stay connected with the university, whether it is through emails, direct mail or specific invitations to events. There are also benefits that come along with a membership, like discounts on car insurance, car rentals and tickets.

According to Andrews, a membership is “not just a local aspect, it’s global. Wherever you go we can find what you need, help you get there and these connections and benefits will be there for you.”