By SUZANNE BONNER
The Student Alumni Association has recently redefined its mission to focus on developing affinity among BYU graduates.
Carl Clark, president of the Student Alumni Association, said this year’s mission includes strengthening alumni chapters, supporting constituent society and reunion programs, and promoting campus alumni-oriented programs.
“(SAA) was designed specifically to broaden educational goals of students and to provide alumni networking opportunities for students,” said Ren Allred, director of campus alumni programs.
The Student Alumni Association is part of the BYU Alumni Association and is affiliated with the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, Allred said.
Allred said SAA’s primary responsibilities include coordinating programs such as the Finals Survival Kits, which began a few years ago and involves members of the SAA board contacting parents of freshmen to see if they want to purchase a ‘finals’ kit for their children.
This year, the SAA board is organizing Senior Celebration, a party hosted for students who are graduating. Every program is designed to build affinity for SAA, Allred said.
Some changes the SAA is making include inviting alumni back to the university to meet with students interested in the same field of study or in living in the same location as they do, said Carl Clark, president of SAA.
Clark said the SAA also plans on reducing the number of board members. Currently, ten college chairs sit on the board, but next year that will be different. The board wants to focus more on the changes in SAA, Clark said.
SAA members are hoping alumni will interact more with one another wherever they are living, Clark said. Clark hopes SAA chapters around the world will take part in coordinating church-related events.
“If there’s a BYU dance team in their area, the chapter can host the event,” Clark said. “This fosters camaraderie among BYU grads and gives BYU a presence in their communities.”
Clark said that unlike many universities, BYU encourages friends of the university to participate in SAA activities.
Eric Burns, 25, is vice president of SAA and will be the SAA chair for next year.
“What I really hope to see is successful reorganization of SAA,” Burns said.
Burns said he believes this new focus will create more awareness of SAA.
“We want students to leave the university and become active in the chapter in their local area,” Burns said.
Melinda Semadeni, 24, publicity director for SAA and a reporter for KBYU, has been advertising to students to make them aware of the association and to let them know how they can become involved.
“We’re just trying to build bonds between the students, the university and the alumni,” Semadeni said.