The reminders come every few months, telling you about an upcoming meeting of your alumni association. You admittedly have never gone to one of these meetings, but you’re curious. You wonder what they’re all about and whether there would be any benefit to attending.
In fact, you would find lots of benefits from joining your local alumni association. Let’s explore what these groups do.
What is an Alumni Association?
First, let’s define what an alumni association is. It’s a group of people who went to the same college or university. The group is open to anyone who attended the school. They often have chapters based on geographic location. For instance, the Penn State Alumni Association has a Capital Area Chapter for residents of the Harrisburg, PA, area.
While alumni associations provide a fun way for people who shared campus life together to relive the good old days and root for their team in major sporting events, they do much more than that. They may raise funds for your school or put together benefits for graduates who have fallen on hard times. If you are not sure if your alma mater has a nearby chapter, contact the alumni relations office. They should be able to put you in touch with your local alumni association.
Why You Should Join Your Alumni Association
Still unsure if joining is a good idea? Here are five reasons why you may want to join:
- Membership Perks Can Save You Money
Alumni associations often have large memberships, and this allows them to negotiate deals with companies that want those people’s business. The more people in the association, the better leverage it has in negotiating deals. You might receive notices for alumni association discounts on:
- Auto and life insurance
- Membership for other societies
- You May Find Free Services Through the Association
In addition to saving money, sometimes you can receive the benefit of convenience. For example, some alumni associations offer members free email addresses through the college. This is a smart thing to take advantage of if your current email address is tied to an Internet service provider or through an older site such as AOL or Yahoo. You don’t want your address to look dated.
Other savings you may receive through your association include:
- Free or discounted tickets to sporting or speaking events
- Discounts at your college or university bookstore
- Vacation program discounts
You can also suggest ideas to your alumni association, and they can pursue them. Showing that they listen helps prospective members understand that the association works for its membership. This positive word-of-mouth ultimately helps increase the size of the association, giving it more negotiating leverage.
- Incredible Networking Opportunities
Moving ahead depends on hard work and dedication, but knowing the right people can help it go a little faster. Alumni association events offer the chance to network with others in your profession. You could meet someone who knows the hiring manager at your dream company, or perhaps you might really hit it off with the CEO who went to your school and runs a business in your discipline.
When you network, you get a chance to put your personality on display. It’s less nerve-wracking than an interview, and when you do it in the context of an alumni event, you know you have something in common with the person you talk to. Having gone to the same school also gives you a topic to return to whenever you feel you may be running out of things to discuss.
- Opportunities to Give Back
Alumni associations provide more than just advantages for you. They also offer you a way to give back to your school. Many people feel a deep connection to the place they attended college. They want to help the current students there experience the same positive environment they did.
Alumni associations often solicit members to become mentors to students. You can provide guidance to a student majoring in the same thing you did or who wants to enter your industry. You can also arrange internships through many alumni associations. It’s fun to pass on your knowledge to others, and it also feels good.
- Credit Union Membership
Have you been thinking about joining a credit union but aren’t sure whether you qualify? Many credit unions accept alumni of colleges and universities that are in their area. You may even find you can get additional perks if you belong to an alumni association. PSECU, for instance, has a credit card for members of the Millersville University Alumni Association and the Lock Haven University Alumni Association.
In addition to displaying your school pride, you also have the opportunity to earn up to 2% cash rewards.*
Check with your alumni association to see if they have any special deals with PSECU. You can also reach out to us directly with any questions.
And remember, to find more money-saving tips, check out our WalletWorks page.
*You can earn 1.5% cash rewards on purchases. You can earn 2% cash rewards on purchases if you maintain a PSECU checking account and qualifying monthly direct deposit(s) of at least $500. See the Visa® Founder’s Card and Visa® Alumni Rewards Card Rewards Program Terms and Conditions for full details.