SGA goes abroad to connect with alumni
Published: Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, August 1, 2012 12:08
Traveling across the globe may seem like a daunting task, but for five West Virginia University representatives, it’s part of the job.
To connect with alumni and future students, five University representatives traveled overseas last week.
Tom Sloane, executive director of international and global relations; Zach Redding, student body president; Jarred Zuccari, student body vice president; Ken Gray, vice president for student affairs; and Stephen Douglas, president of the alumni association, traveled to Japan, Thailand and Malaysia during a nine day trip that cost $30,000 total.
The WVU Alumni Association paid $6,000 for Douglas’ portion, while the Department for Student Affairs covered the remaining $24,000 for the other representatives to attend.
The main focus of the trip was to connect with alumni in Asia, Redding said.
"Our primary initiative in our travels to Japan, Thailand and Malaysia was to meet the charter three alumni chapters," he said. "In doing so, we were able to become acquainted with many former WVU alumni abroad, speak with them about what life at WVU is currently like and give them pointers on how to help us gain prospective students from their countries."
According to Douglas, the alumni association is also looking at organizing groups in China, Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia and Brazil.
"These organizations have made great strides and helped us recruit students in their area," Douglas said.
Douglas also said alumni groups are important because they can support and guide student recruiters who travel abroad.
In WVU’s strategic plan for 2020, global engagement is an area of focus. According to Douglas, WVU has 1,500 international students.
The goal is to have 3,000 by 2020.
According to Sloane, another major goal of the trip was to recognize loyal alumni who have spread across the globe and recognize what they have done for WVU.
"When we go on recruiting trips, these same alumni come to our college fairs and work with us on giving out information about the university," Sloane said. "Many times they’ll even speak to parents and students in their native language. It’s always a big help wherever we go when we have alumni with us."
Redding agrees that having international connections is beneficial to our University.
"We live in a global world, and connecting with people of all ages internationally is tremendously important in our University’s push to compete with the top schools in the country," Redding said. "I also believe that experiencing new culture is one of the most beneficial things an individual can do."
Sloane enjoyed the trip personally because he knows many of the alumni.
"It’s like seeing old friends that I haven’t seen in 15 or 20 years," Sloane said. "Seeing them in their career, bringing their children up and how successful they are is amazing."
Sloane and Redding said the trip demonstrated how WVU is widely recognized abroad.
"After a 13-hour flight to the other side of the world, I saw around 100 flying WVs, sang "Country Roads," and felt as if I was right at home," Redding said. "Our international alumni are incredible, and will only continue to get better in the future."