Though for members of the senior class, Monday’s Commencement will mark the official end of their time at Penn, “there’s no excuse to stop involvement,” according to 2006 graduate Andrew Rosenthal, president of the Penn Alumni Club of Philadelphia.
For these soon-to-be Penn alumni — as well as other recent graduates — there are many ways to engage with the University after graduation.
The most basic option, Rosenthal said, is joining a local alumni club. With more than 100 clubs in locations from Philadelphia to Beijing, Penn graduates can attend regular social events or explore their city of residence together.
At the same time, by providing community service opportunities such as painting local schools and wrapping gifts for underprivileged children, alumni clubs allow graduates to “give back to the community in a way that’s uniquely Penn,” Rosenthal added. For example, the Philadelphia club coordinated its outreach efforts to occur on Martin Luther King, Jr. day to coincide with Penn undergraduates’ community service activities.
In fact, according to Alumni Relations Director Elise Betz, this connection to the University itself makes alumni programming unique. Between “Penn alumni salons,” which bring Penn faculty and graduates together for activities during homecoming and alumni weekend, Betz added, graduates can easily stay linked to campus.
There are also numerous opportunities to stay connected for those who might not be members of regional alumni clubs. Each school has its own individual alumni association.
Engineering Alumni Society President Harris Romanoff, a 1998 Engineering graduate, explained that the society is dedicated to “doing events that will benefit and be meaningful to both current students and alumni.” The organization’s most popular initiative is its mentoring program, which pairs current students with alumni based on their career interests.
School-specific societies also host professional seminars on real-world topics such as how to acquire professional engineering licenses.
“No matter how you slice it,” Romanoff added, “it’s really strengthening and building connections between alumni and students.”
At the same time, there are more informal ways for graduates to maintain their relationships with Penn. “If you’re graduating, one of the first things you should do is sign up to interview applicants,” Rosenthal said. “You provide a fresh perspective, because you’re closer in age and interest.”
Penn also has an active iTunes U website, YouTube portal, and Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn pages.
“Not all of us can write can large checks now — but you can give time, energy and knowledge that older alumni simply don’t have access to,” Rosenthal said.
Nicole Oddo, a 2005 College graduate, said she has witnessed the benefits of alumni engagement firsthand. Having been involved in the Arizona and Chicago alumni networks, and currently serving as Penn Alumni Cub of Philadelphia vice chair for internal affairs, Oddo wrote in an e-mail that to her, “Penn is more than a four year opportunity — it is a community to be a part of for the rest of your life anywhere in the world.”Comments powered by Disqus
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