Increasing Engagement After Graduation

By Laura McDonough
Youngstown State University alumni recently received a letter stating they don’t have to pay dues to the YSU Alumni Society anymore.

Jackie LeViseur, interim director of Alumni Engagement, said membership to the society now begins when you graduate.

“We want to remove barriers. We want to welcome everyone into the society, get them involved and reconnected with the university,” LeViseur said. “We want them to come back on campus and learn about what’s going on. If that’s not a possibility, to open up the communication. Whether it’s picking up a phone or social media.”

LeViseur said the dues were used to help maintain the program and the overhead costs, but didn’t generate a lot of money. No other fees will be generated from the program now.

There are YSU Alumni Society chapters across the country. LeViseur recently went to Arizona, where she said they have a wonderful chapter.

“They do events, raise money for scholarships that they give back to the university,” LeViseur said. “It’s just something to see them all get together and share their experiences from YSU.”

She said one of their tasks at Alumni Engagement is to help develop the chapters by making more meaningful experiences for alumni if they return to campus or want to be more involved in the chapter.

A section of Alumni Engagement, called Pete’s Pride, has always been free for alumni.

The program supports new student recruitment, assisting with the career development of current students, engaging in community outreach and community service.

Heather Belgin, assistant director of Alumni Engagement, oversees the volunteer-based program. She said Pete’s Pride has 1,375 members who have done over 5,600 combined volunteer hours to give back to the university.

“Pete’s Pride gives alumni a way to give back to the university in terms of their time and talent, and lets them engage with other alumni,” Belgin said. “When Pete’s Pride members participate in community service projects, such as StreetScape, it demonstrates YSU’s commitment to the community at large.”

Pete’s Pride members can share their positive experiences with prospective students at events like Crash Day, which Belgin said can help bring prospective students to YSU.

The Alumni Engagement office wants to do as much as possible to make alumni feel welcome, and free programs such as the Alumni Society and Pete’s pride are doing that.

“We want to expand efforts and welcome our alumni back with open arms,” LeViseur said.

Benefits for The Alumni Society include:
• A limited hours membership to YSU’s Andrews Student Recreation and Wellness Center for $150 a year.
• A 50 percent discount on season ticket subscriptions for YSU University Theater and Dance.
• Alumni only publications and events
• Opportunities to network with alumni and friends
• Opportunity to participate in YSU Alumni Connect
• Children can apply for the Alumni Legacy Scholarship
• Maag Library access
• Discounts on insurance through the Alumni Insurance Program and Liberty Mutual
• Hotel discounts
• Car rental discounts
• Resources at YSU Career Services
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