I never really thought about being an alumna during my first few years as a UWaterloo student. Working as a co-op student for Alumni Relations was definitely an eye opener for me. Who knew there was a whole extra chapter in our lives that would begin after convocation?
There were a few key things I learned that helped to strengthen my bond with the University. The first was finding out about the insane number of UWaterloo alumni who have gone on to do such great things. I started reading the news daily and was surprised to find a vast number of the researchers, politicians and engineers in the news had graduated from UWaterloo. It made me feel pride for the University I attend knowing that people who walked the same halls as I do are making a difference in the world. Events such as Reunion showed me that a lot of these big named people remember their roots and continue to support Waterloo. Inventions such as the Myo armband or the printable robots showed me how innovative the people from our University are.
The second thing I learned was the amount of effort put in by the staff at UWaterloo in order to engage students and alumni. It was hard to see this effort before as someone on the outside but after going through the pages of notes and helping with events, I came to the obvious conclusion that alumni mean a lot to the University. It surprised me how much detail was put into everything and how my team remembered even the smallest pieces of information an alumnus may have told them. I remember being at the Navigating the University Admissions Process event and thinking that sushi was a random appetizer. It turned out that Alumni Relations had actually polled the people attending and asked what they would like to be served rather than going with something generic. I greatly appreciate this effort because I know that one day I will be a part of the alumni club as well.
The third thing I learned was how to answer the question “But what exactly do you do in Alumni Relations?” At first, it was difficult to formulate an exact response to this because there were so many things I was experiencing as a part of the Alumni Relations team. In the end, my answer came down to this: We work to engage alumni and help them stay connected to the University. This was a simplified answer with a very complicated background. The Alumni Relations team plays many different roles and does various different things. Our job is to showcase our outstanding alumni and make sure they know we are proud of them. We want them to stay connected so they can tell everyone their story and be able to help each other out. We want to reward them in every way possible and invite them back to the University to have a good time. Our job is to remind alumni that they will always be a part of this community and that we have not forgotten them.
My time at Alumni Relations was very informative, interesting and enjoyable. It showed me that if there is one thing I would like to be forever associated with, it is definitely the University of Waterloo.