By Kate Pekuri
SALT LAKE CITY–The University of Utah boasts nearly 280,000 alumni, and the Alumni Association has the massive task of managing this group of people. On their website, the Alumni Association claims they are “dedicated to forging and preserving lifelong relationships with alumni, students and the community.” Through their efforts, they work to create a sense of loyalty to the U, give to philanthropy, as well as be a central hub of campus activity.
This past year, the Alumni House has undergone a complete renovation, resulting in the opening of the Cleone Peterson Eccles Alumni House. The building features ballrooms, meeting rooms, and beautiful outdoor spaces, located at the center of campus. It is often used as an activity hub, always hosting different organizations’ events. Anyone can reserve a room in the Alumni House, from a club meeting to a wedding.
Despite being a brand-new building, students often have no interaction with the Alumni House aside from picking up their MUSS passes. The Alumni Association has numerous leadership opportunities for University students such as the Student Alumni Board and the MUSS Board. The MUSS Board even has their own room in the new building complete with couches and ping pong tables where members of the board can spend their free time between classes. Students can also reap the benefits of the Alumni Association. Here, students can forge connections with professionals within the Alumni Association as well as build their own resumes.
University of Utah Alumni Zac Williams served time in many organizations during his time at the U. This included ASUU, Inter-Fraternal Council, and the MUSS Board. He was also a part of homecoming royalty in 2016. “It’s been a huge part in shaping the leader I am today,” says Williams. Not only did he gain leadership skills and professional connections, but he was also a recipient of one of the Alumni Association scholarships. Williams is now in graduate school at the Southern California Institute of Architecture studying for his Masters of Architecture after receiving his undergraduate degree at the U.
One of the associations main incentives is to connect U Alumni with current U students. The main avenue of doing this is known as AlumniFire. This is a grassroots network where current students can connect with young alumni in order to find jobs, internships, or just get career advice. Karen Ashton, Manager of Marketing and Membership at the Alumni Association, is a member of AlumniFire as a mentor. Ashton says she is a believer in AlumniFire because “I can put in as little or as much time as I’d like, I can look at a couple resumes or do a full-blown mock interview with a student.” Campaigns such as this one reinforce the Alumni Association’s mission to connect students with young alumni in a natural, simple way and gives mentors a sense of making a difference.
If alumni would rather not give up their time, there are currently eight different scholarship funds they can donate toward. These scholarships are awarded to students achievement based as well as need based.
Kelsy Patrick, a University of Utah graduate in Anthropology with a health emphasis, landed a job in the healthcare field with the help of alumni. “I would not have the job I do right now if it weren’t for the connections the University has brought me” says Patrick. She explains the loyalty of the University’s alumni and their inherent desire to give back. Patrick now works at the Granger Medical Clinic while applying to Physicians Assistant schools. With the help of alumni, she now looks forward to giving back to future students.
Like many organizations on campus, the resources are there just waiting to be used. As students, it is imperative for the college experience to get out and seek new opportunities as well as focus on creating a future beyond college. The resources of the Alumni Association are just a few of thousands of resources provided to students by the University. The University of Utah Alumni Association aids students in seeing beyond the diploma and promoting lifelong Ute pride amongst its graduates.