Revamped Association to benefit alumni, current students

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Attending and graduating from SVSU is a big accomplishment, but what happens after graduation? Getting a job, and moving on? Or coming back and getting involved for the benefit of other students? This is exactly what the university’s Alumni Association, along with supervision from President Donald Bachand, are striving to do not only for the benefit of alumni, but also for current students.

Saginaw Valley’s Alumni Association is working on projects to create new strategies for alumni of the university. Some of these new implications include affinity groups, “63 Days to Graduation,” and an Alumni Reception at the Detroit Athletic Club on Oct. 28.

SVSU is reaching out to all alumni for three main reasons: to impact student recruitment, to help with the university’s image by sharing success stories, and to help mentor students, while giving them advice on career navigation and offering potential internships.

The overall vision of the five-year plan that President Bachand has in mind is to bring alumni together, and let them know that they are a part of the ‘Cardinal family’ for life.

“President Bachand is really making a commitment to show firsthand that he’s dedicated to bringing our alumni home,” said Jim Dwyer, Executive Director of the Alumni Association. “For example, we want to bring back alumni to speak with perspective students and their families at open houses, because they have the insights that students want about the different programs and their experiences are powerful for students to hear.”

A major part of this bringing together of alumni is the affinity groups that the association is implementing. An affinity group is a group of people that have had the same experiences either academically or through extra-curricular activities as a student here.

Each affinity group will direct targeted communication among the group members, promote the university to perspective college students, and participate as mentors for students with similar interests. They also plan to establish student and alumni networks for career navigation, visit campus for alumni functions and university events, and promote SVSU on the license plate program.

These groups are not only a way to connect alumni to other alumni, but also a great way for students to learn information about their major and get tips and tricks on how to succeed.

Soon, our alumni will receive a weekly president’s update email explaining future visions and developments at SVSU. They will also be receiving new alumni benefits in addition to existing benefits: access to over 50,000 electronic journal publications for research needs, MyHotel Rewards, which gives the lowest hotel rates in the country and Perkspot, which has over 10,000 discounted products and service offerings nationwide. Coming soon is the Valley Vino Club, an exquisite wine club.

Adding to this technological approach to get alumni involved once again at the university, the Alumni Association has a major revamp planned for the website, where they will share an “Alumni of the Week” post explaining a success story from a graduate, and where alumni will be able to find the new Cardinal spirit wear that has been designed specifically for them.

The association is currently asking all alumni to share their success stories by sending them to

For all Metro-Detroit area alumni interested in joining Present Bachand and the Alumni Association for complimentary drinks and appetizers, there is an event at the Detroit Athletic Club on Oct. 28 from 4p.m. to 6 p.m. The President, along with the Alumni Association, will be talking about exciting news and developments being made within the association.

Two major strategies have been taking place within the Alumni Association within the past year. Starting this year, the association designed a legacy program designed for children of parents who are alumnus of the institution. In the first year, 117 students are enrolled.

Any student who has one or multiple parents that attended SVSU are encouraged to write a paper on why they are looking forward to following in their parents’ footsteps and attending the university. A dinner was held for recipients and Bachand was the guest of honor. After the dinner, parents were informed about the card they will be receiving, which links them directly to the Alumni Association, where they are able to ask any questions their students may have in the process of starting college.

The next big program strategy for the association is the creation of “63 Days to Graduation.” As the name states, this will begin promptly 63 days before commencement. The main idea is to recognize that all of the graduates will become alumni as soon as they walk off from the ceremony. The president is planned to toast to students on Dec. 3rd recognizing becoming alum and therefore becoming a part of the alumni family.

For those on social media, there will be a Twitter account, @svsu63days, a group page on Facebook, SVSU 63 Days to Graduation, and an Instagram hashtag, #63days, in which students can count down the days to graduation by posting pictures for the weekly themes. Themes range from “best friends at SVSU” to “graduation is finally here.” Each weekly winner will receive a $25 gas card, and the grand prize winner will receive a $100 gift card to the bookstore. Also, winners’ picture’s could be used on social media for the university as well as other marketing outlets.

The Alumni Association and President Bachand want to promote SVSU as a university that truly cares about their alumni. Through “63 Days to Graduation”, the Legacy Scholarship, social media, and other implications, SVSU is hoping that generations of families are going to pursue their dreams here and do well in their careers just as their successors have.
“We really just want to bring the alumni home,” Dwyer said, “and have them know that we still care about them being here.”