Among the questions going through the minds of soon-to-be graduates, how to stay involved with their alma mater may prove to be one of their last worries.
But, according to an article published by USA Today, it is mutually beneficial for graduates to remain engaged and involved with the university they attended.
According to Shea Kidd Houze, University of Southern Mississippi associate director of external affairs, USM begins engaging its students as soon as they enter campus through events such as the Painting of the Eagle Walk and the option to be involved with The Legacy, the student chapter of the Alumni Association.
“The Legacy is the campus leader in promoting spirit and enthusiasm on campus by protecting the tradition and history of Southern Miss,” Kidd Houze said. “We encourage everyone to join The Legacy and to attend Legacy events, where each event is centered on tradition and pride.”
Sophie Saizan is a former president of The Legacy.
“Once graduates sign up for the Alumni Association, they will be entered in the database to receive email updates and letters,” Saizan said. “We have alumni chapters all over the U.S. that hold events in their area to keep alumni connected to a close knit USM community away from Hattiesburg.”
Some recent graduates, though, have become very discouraged with the Alumni Association and how they have been asked to stay involved with Southern Miss.
Kalen Kenney, class of 2014, is one of those students.
“I’ve been very disappointed that the only interaction with our Alumni Association since I graduated last May has been emails and phone calls asking for donations,” he said.
“It’s frustrating and worrisome that the Alumni Association is deterring recent graduates from becoming active alumni by asking for donations so soon after graduation without offering opportunities for those who may not have the means to donate, but would love to serve Southern Miss in another capacity in their communities outside of Hattiesburg.”
On the other end, Jacob Barry, class of 2013, has been quite pleased with the Alumni Association’s interaction with him.
“The Alumni Association sends out emails with events that are going on,” he said. “They have wanted me to come back but I haven’t been able to make it back to any yet.”
But Barry did say he wished the Alumni Association had provided him with more events prior to
One way the Alumni Association is granting that wish and encouraging soon-to-be graduates to stay involved with USM following graduation is through their Senior Send-Off: Grads and Crawdads event. This event will be held May 1 at 3 p.m. at the house of President Rodney Bennett himself.
“It is our hope that the Senior Send-off will offer an opportunity to celebrate all graduates on this exciting milestone and welcome them to the Golden Eagle alumni family,” Kidd Houze said.
To get involved with the Alumni Association, graduates from the past three years can join the organization for a small fee of $20. Recent graduates also receive a “grad pack” with their alumni membership, which includes several items such as a portfolio and a license plate. These can be purchased and picked up during cap and gown pick up from May 4-7.
“Southern Miss truly changed my life and I’m continually reminded of the life lessons learned from this beloved institution. As students graduate, their Southern Miss stories illuminate the power and influence of the Golden Eagle experience,” Kidd Houze said.
“Our alums graduate and become professionals in every type of field imaginable. The common thread to a façade of differences is that we are all ordinary people with an extraordinary love for The University of Southern Mississippi.”
For more information on the Alumni Association and how to stay involved with USM, visit SouthernMissAlumni.com.