I find the low percentage to be rather astonishing as HBCU graduates are always boasting of their eternal commitment to the “Yard” or the “Hill,” and these alumni associations offer the greatest opportunities for alumni to continue their relationship with the institution and to forge lifelong relationships with other graduates.
When asked why they don’t join, many respond with, “They never get anything done” or, “It’s all these old folks in there and they’re opposed to new/fresh ideas.” Whereas there may be some truth to these statements, one must remember that if you live long enough, it’s very possible you may be referred to as an “Old Alum.” Something I discovered first-hand as I was recently acknowledged as the senior alumnus at an alumni chapter meeting… not a good feeling.
Initially I thought, “Oooooh, that hurts,” but then I remembered my first few alumni association meetings and how awkward and out-of-place I felt. It took a while to fit in, which is pretty normal for newcomers, but I kept in mind that this is my organization too. I’ve earned the right to be here just like everyone else and my purpose for joining is to foster, advance and support the interests and welfare of the College in accordance with its ideals, principles and traditions.
If you are contemplating joining your alumni association and are questioning what the experience might me like, consider these benefits below:
Benefits of Alumni Associations
- A way to give back as many associations administer scholarship programs that award funding each year to deserving students regardless of discipline. In many cases, these scholarships have been established by alumni chapters, classes, families or individuals
- Mentoring opportunities in which you may find a mentor that has expertise in your area of interest; or one can become a mentor to recent graduates. Similar to the brother and sisterhood found within Greek organizations, there is an innate feeling toward being there for one another within alumni associations.
- Networking possibilities that often lead to professional growth, opportunities and enhanced prosperity. Sometimes it’s not who you know but rather who knows you.
- Being a part of an organization with a common denominator of advancing and supporting the interests and prosperity of the institution in accordance with its morals, ideologies.
- Access to group member discounts on auto and home insurance; lower interest rates credit cards in which the issuing banks in many cases will provide additional incentives. These may include cash rebates to the association following the first purchase and/or a percentage of every purchase being given back.
A few things to keep in mind – alumni associations are only as good and effective as the individuals that make-up the membership. In-order for the organization to be beneficial for its members, alumni must be willing to invest their intellectual, social and financial capital.
“Hey HBCU Alumni, We Want You!!! –HBCU Alumni Associations