At Arizona State University, our alumni association shares the culture of community and innovation that informs the student experience on campus and through ASU Online. We have thriving chapters in more than 40 U.S. cities and over 35 countries, opening up unique opportunities to build meaningful connections with other Sun Devils across the globe. These organizations and events aren’t just reserved for graduates either. Current students, both online and on-campus, have access to the association and its resources, along with faculty and friends of the university, as well as outside businesses and organizations that support the school in various ways.
“Our role is to connect with the nearly 500,000 Sun Devils and provide a number of services to them,” says Tracy Scott, Director of Marketing Communications with the ASU Alumni Association. “Everything from networking opportunities, travel programs, events and robust chapter networks all over the country.”
Career development and mentorship
The structure of the ASU Alumni Association is such that members have the potential to offer as much to their chapters as they have to gain. For example, grads are encouraged to share their experiences in the professional sector with current students, lending their ground-level perspective on what challenges and opportunities may lie ahead in the job search process and in the workplace. Along with their personal stories, these members are often able to provide additional resources to qualifying students in the form of internships or access to industry-specific networking opportunities. In some cases, recommendations are even made to companies looking to recruit new talent, which can be mutually beneficial.
“We’ve connected with Sun Devils who are successful in their jobs to provide topical information on how to navigate the employment process,” says Justin Finnerty, Director of Alumni Career Services. “It’s a win-win situation, because the alum is able to do a service for their organization, and at the same time they’re giving information and advice back to our fresh alums with their job searches.”
The Sun Devil Network
The importance of networking to your overall professional development is nothing new. However, social media has added a new component to the process of meeting, connecting and engaging with peers, industry leaders and employers. While it may be easier than ever to find important people in your field on Facebook or LinkedIn, technology doesn’t replace the need for traditional networking and communication skills to build genuine connections with people who are willing to become personal resources for the development of your career.
The ASU Alumni Association helps graduates make connections in person - not only through local events hosted by individual chapters but also through a new resource designed for connecting current students and recent graduates with seasoned alumni wanting to offer mentorship.
“We are currently in the build-out phase of ‘The Sun Devil Network,’ our new mentoring platform,” Finnerty says. “Our goal is to get 500 [experienced] alumni populated into this database for both our current students and fresh graduates to be able to connect with.”