Connecting to your campus: Network and career-build through the Alumni Association

Georgia State alumni sign at the young alumni mixer at Ormsby's on October 1st. Photo by Zach Butler | The Signal

Graduating college is one of the biggest stepping stone in a person’s life. In the course of getting a degree, a stable job and figuring out what to do next, one may forget their roots. But Panthers have a way to stay connected to their alma mater through the Georgia State Alumni Association.

While “Alumni” and “graduates” can be synonymous terms, just because a student graduates from Georgia State it doesn’t mean they are automatically a member of the Alumni Association.

Members are graduates who are dues-paying members of the association, whose fees pay for resources and connections that the association provides.

The association prides itself on the number of members that are a part of it. Most alumni from Georgia State remain in the state. As of May 2019, more than 190,000 alumni from Georgia State are still in Georgia, according to the association’s website.

Florida, North Carolina, California and Texas are the states with the next largest number of alumni. Some alumni leave the U.S., with 2,978 alumni either identified they were living abroad or left their location unidentified.

“Our association tends to host events around the Atlanta area to cater to our alumni who have traveled here or stayed here,” Chauncey Walker, the Alumni Association’s constituent relations coordinator, said.

The association provides Georgia State students and graduates many opportunities to build their resume within the university and network outside of it for their career.

When alumni pay the $75 fee for the association, they receive access to six appointments with a career adviser on campus and a career drop-in session, where the alumni can receive resume reviews and quick job searches. 

“The biggest impact the association had on Georgia State is connecting,” Walker said. 

Alumni also can receive awards and can attend events through the Alumni Association. One important night for the association is the Distinguished Alumni Awards Dinner held on Friday, during which the association awards an alum who exemplifies leadership and passion through the association. This year’s nominees include alumni dating back to 1968. 

Besides the awards dinner, the Alumni Association holds other events including a homecoming tailgate on Saturday and an Alumni Happy Hour networking event hosted in Washington, D.C. 

On Tuesday the association held the Young Alumni Mixer for recently graduated alumni.

Kierra Nelson, who attended the mixer, graduated from Georgia State with a bachelor’s degree in science and chemistry in August 2015 and came back for her master’s degree in public health. Nelson joined the Young Alumni Council, in hopes to give back to Georgia State.

“I wasn’t highly involved in the association during my undergraduate years. After I started my master’s degree, I got more involved in the association to network for my field of work,” Nelson said. “I joined the Young Alumni Council to step my foot in the 

The Young Alumni Council focuses on the recent alumni from Georgia State and keeping them engaged with the university. 

“We hope to get our Young Alumni more engaged,” Walker said. “The face of Georgia State has changed [a lot] from 1913 to today, and we want to make our young alumni feel connected and supported.”

Recent graduate Cody Post joined the YAC this year. 

“I joined the council because I wanted to help out my fellow alumni and to encourage current students throughout their time at Georgia State,” Post said. “The council allows alumni to give back to the university; we can help each other out by mentoring each other and making new connections.”

To be eligible for the council, which has 30 members, the applicant must have graduated within the last ten years or must be under the age of forty. 

Once on the council, members have responsibilities to uphold, such as serving a minimum of two years, donating a minimum of $100 to the Georgia State Alumni Scholarship Fund and attended two events hosted by the Alumni Association.

The association caters to current students of Georgia State as well. The Student Alumni Association hosts a program called Dinner with 12 Panthers, pairing current students with alumni to foster connections over a meal.