By Glendy Ardon
As this school year comes to an end, many students will walk away from CSU Bakersfield with their degrees ready to tackle their futures.
The CSUB Alumni Association wants to bridge the gap between graduates and the university and make alumni feel connected to the school by providing opportunities and resources.
According to Sarah Hendrick, Director of Alumni Engagement, there are over 47 thousand alumni being represented by the association, and that number is expected to hit 50 thousand once the 2017 graduates are included.
“We are here to be a resource for alumni after they graduate from the university…keep them connected to campus after they graduate, and provide benefits and services and give them opportunities to give back to the campus, as well,” said Hendrick.
The membership to join is free this year, but a lifetime membership costs $500.
Becoming a member of the CSUB Alumni Association has many perks and benefits for alumni.
Some of these benefits include discounts to CSUB athletic events, Runner Bookstore and Student Recreation Center, along with access to the library and discounts on insurance services.
The Alumni Association wants to facilitate the relationship between past students and the university by providing opportunities to volunteer, mentor and attend events to give back to the university.
Irma Cervantes Lancaster, CSUB alumna and president of the board of directors of the Alumni Association, said she is proud to be part of the association.
“I knew that by becoming a part of the CSUB Alumni Association, I would be able to work with the board of directors and the university to create initiatives and increase promotional efforts so that we could gain more pride and involvement from our wonderful CSUB Alumni,” said Cervantes Lancaster.
“It is important for graduates to know that their involvement with the university does not end at graduation. The education, knowledge, and experience they gained at CSUB will be a part of them for the rest of their lives. Becoming a member of the association allows alumni easy access to information on how to continue to be a part of their university after receiving their degrees,” Cervantes Lancaster wrote in an email.
“They will always be a part of the CSUB family,” Hendrick said.
The Alumni Association hosts events every year inviting alumni to return and celebrate achievements.
“We have two key events every year. One is our annual Alumni Recognition Ceremony…and Party at the Park,” said Hendrick.
Hendrick explained that the Alumni Hall of Fame just celebrated its 11th year and has inducted over 40 alumni.
“Our Alumni Recognition Ceremony is held every February. It kicks off our homecoming week festivities. It’s a really fun black-tie formal event,” Hendrick said.
This formal event recognizes and puts together video montages of each inductee.
“We get to learn about their history as a student here on campus and what they’ve done since they left campus,” said Hendrick.
The social fundraising event, Party at the Park, just celebrated its 20th anniversary this October. This event is open to alumni and the community.
“It’s just a fun event. We have music, good food, wine and beer tasting and a silent auction,” Hendrick said about the Party at the Park event. “It’s a fun time for alumni and community members…This is the closest thing we have to an alumni reunion on campus.”
According to Hendrick, CSUB Alumni Association runs three different committees that focus on scholarships, membership and mentorship.
“We encourage alumni to have a lifelong relationship with the university. It’s nice to have a mentor. A lot of our students are first-time students, so I think that alumni mentors can be a wonderful opportunity for our students,” said Hendrick.
If any students want to meet alumni and have a mentorship opportunity, Hendrick encourages them to contact the Alumni Association.
For students graduating this semester, the Alumni Association is there to continue to strengthen the bond between the university and the alumni.
Cervantes Lancaster said that a university education is not only composed of a student-teacher relationship, but is a team effort involving admissions, financial aid, administration, the Alumni Association and other departments.
“I urge our new 2017 graduating class to consider giving back and being involved with their university. Just like former alumni have been there for them, they should be there for the future graduates of CSUB,” said Cervantes Lancaster.
“[We] just want to stay in touch with our alumni and bring them back to events and campus programs so that they feel they are part of the CSUB family,” Hendricks said.