New program allows students, alumni to connect

Cathryn Perini

Once a Wildcat, always a Wildcat.

A new program created by the UK Alumni Association and the president’s office is meant to connect current Wildcats with UK alumni.

This program will create a group of designated students to network and communicate with alumni.

The Alumni Ambassador program will be comprised of 24 junior, senior and fifth-year students, hopefully equally divided between male and female students. There will be two senior student selected from the group to act as leaders.

Although being an alumni ambassador is an unpaid position, students will reap plenty of benefits. Students will be outfitted in a uniform, free of charge, which will consist of a blazer, a polo, a scarf for women and a tie for men. If travel is involved, students will be provided a meal.

One of the greatest benefits for students will be the ability to network and make meaningful connections with alumni. It is important for this to be a student role, because alumni want to know what’s going on in the day-to-day functioning of the university, according to Sara-Elizabeth Bush, Alumni Engagement Coordinator for the UK Alumni Association.

Students will act as a sort of welcoming committee, working events around campus for alumni. Events could include anything from a groundbreaking event for a new building, a donor event, or something hosted by President Eli Capilouto. The students’ services can be requested by any college at UK for events.

“The students are going to be the official host of any event at the university,” Bush said.

Ambassadors will have to know everything that is going on at the university, including the constant changes that are happening every day.

The program is important for both students and alumni.

“If you were a donor, or you’re someone who has given back, we would love to be able to connect you back to students, too, and give these students the opportunity as well,” Bush said.

Schedules will be flexible for students and are on a request basis. Busier months like October and April will require more of the students’ time.

Other benchmark institutions, such as Duke University and the University of North Carolina, have programs with designated students specifically for alumni relations. Those programs operate the same way as the Alumni Ambassador Program will.

Students can apply online at www.ukalumni.netalumniambassadors. Applications should be submitted by Monday, Feb. 5.

Applicants need to be at least a second-semester sophomore and will need a 3.0 GPA at UK. If a student transferred to UK, only his or her GPA at UK will count. An unofficial transcript also needs to be submitted, as well as a letter of recommendation by a UK faculty, staff member or administrator and a photo. The first group of selected students will have an in-person interview.

Bush suggests getting materials, such as the letter of recommendation, completed early. Applicants should be thorough and detailed in their applications.

“We want to make sure that we know why you love the University of Kentucky and how you can represent it,” Bush said.

If students are uninterested in the program, but still want to get involved with the Alumni Association, they can join Students Today and Alumni Tomorrow (STAT). STAT’s partnership with Team Wildcat ensures that every student, whether interested in athletics, philanthropy or networking, has a place. New leadership positions will be opening up soon.