The UB Alumni Association is expecting to have more than 240,000 members after it makes some substantial changes.
In the past, alumni weren’t automatic members of the association unless they paid a monthly, annual or lifetime membership fee. Starting in October, there will no longer be a fee and all UB graduates will be automatic members of the association, which grants them access to special benefits.
“We didn’t want it to be exclusive,” said Clay Connor, an engagement assistant in the Office of Alumni Engagement. “We wanted to open it up so that students who graduate or people who graduated in the past wouldn’t feel a barrier if they wanted to attend an event.”
The Alumni Association is a global network of alumni who graduated from UB and UB’s main way to keep alumni connected with each other.
The change is retroactive, which means anyone who already graduated will be an automatic member and will not have to pay fees. Those who have already paid the lifetime fee will get special benefits and services that have yet to be determined.
Once the changes take place, more than 240,000 alumni will be added to the network along with an additional six to seven thousand new members each year.
Connor said the association gets “great support” from UB. He said although members no longer have to pay a membership fee, the association is not losing money. It is instead restructuring where they’re utilizing the funds given to them.
There will be no decrease in the number of events or services but there will actually be more since the association is expanding with so many new members, Connor said.
“You won’t see a fall behind in any way,” Connor said.
The association also has a presence at all UB football games in Stampede Square, basketball games, events at CanalSide and holds events in Rochester, New York City and Washington D.C.
Young Alumni is another program that will be made available to alumni and will go into effect sometime this year. It started more than a year ago for alumni who graduated in the past 10 years and branches off of the Alumni Association.
One major benefit that comes with joining Young Alumni is career help. There are webinar series and an online platform that will allow alumni to seek out other alumni for resume critiquing, mentoring and networking. This career help is geared toward people first starting out in their profession.
UB graduate Tyler Bauer is a member of the Young Alumni Leadership Council and just became a member of the Alumni Association subcommittee board on building new traditions at UB.
“I think [Young Alumni] really affects the recent graduates of UB,” Bauer said. “Some recent graduates are not established and with the drop of membership fees, recent alumni [will] feel encouraged to become more involved.”
Future Alumni Network (FAN) is also run and partially funded through the Alumni Association. FAN connects current students with alumni for either career help or just to mingle at events. It is designed for students who want to get involved from a volunteer capacity and really focus on careers, according to Connor.
Because of the recent changes, UB is launching a new senior series for any graduating student to be invited to a select number of alumni social events. The graduating seniors can see what to expect from the association and what events and benefits it offers. Students can also meet alumni and make connections.
In conjunction with the switch to no fees, the association is launching a brand new comprehensive website. Alumni will be able to create a profile and will receive a membership card. There is no signing up – just an automatic membership.
“The website creates a network of people who can go to each other for career help or just to socialize with,” Connor said. “It is the best way to engage all UB graduates during such a pivotal time for the university.”
UBConnect is the one stop-shop to control information. Alumni can choose what kind of emails they want to receive like information for benefits and services. It also saves information in case someone moves or gets a new job. It is overall a “smoother process,” Connor said.
Gabriela Julia is the senior news editor and can be reached at email@example.com.