Free wine brings attention to little known organization

Mike Crissman

Until she received an e-mail from the Alumni Association about an upcoming free wine tasting event for Kent State seniors, Allison Less didn’t even know the organization existed.

“I’ve never heard of them, let alone known that they do fun stuff like this,” said Less, senior nutrition and food major.

About 25 graduating seniors attended the Alumni Association-sponsored Graduating to Wine event Friday. They were given transportation to and from Viking Vineyards & Winery in Kent, along with samplings of six different types of wines.

Carrie Circosta, assistant director of student and recent grad programs, said there are countless students who know very little about what the Alumni Association has to offer.

“I go to different resource fairs, and I have my alumni sign, and students just walk by like, ‘Oh, that’s not me yet,’” Circosta said. “No. That’s a perception we’re trying to change. We do have resources for them before they graduate. Not just after.”

One of the most important things the Alumni Association does is help prepare students for life after graduation, Circosta said. Their E-Mentoring program pairs a student with a Kent State graduate who is a professional in their industry. The alumni mentor their students, critique their resume and help build their network before they graduate.

“When you come to Kent State, you become part of a family,” Circosta said. “We’re going to take care of each other — that’s the message we’re trying to send to students. If you need help with something, one way or another, the alumni office should be able to help you.”

Most of the Alumni Association’s student programming is aimed at seniors, like the pre-graduation celebration called Salute to Seniors in downtown Kent on April 29. However, Circosta said more events will be geared toward lower classmen beginning next fall.

Senior Kelley Krebs, who attended Graduating to Wine on Friday, said the event was especially beneficial to her.

“Any knowledge about food or beverage helps for my major,” said Krebs, nutrition and food major.

“I think it’s a really neat idea that the Alumni Association put on something like this,” Krebs said. “It does get their name out there more.”

Circosta said learning the basics of wine is something any student could find useful in the professional world.

“It’s not only fun but it’s educational for our students, if they’re in that setting with their job,” Circosta said. “If they get to that point, they’ll have some kind of background about wine that they can use.”

Less said she will immediately be able to use what she learned at Graduating to Wine at her current job.

“At my work,” Less said, “they’ll actually hold wine tasting events for the employees so that we can then sell the wine to our guests.”

Contact Mike Crissman at [email protected]