UF Asian American Alumni Day bridges gap between alumni and studentsOthelia Jumapao
Apr 01, 2018
The room was pulsing with youthful energy. It was noisy. You probably would not have been able to guess that this was not your typical Asian American Student Union general body meeting. These people were not college students; they were alumni. It was an alumni reunion hosted by the Association of Asian Alumni (AAA). Forty people attended Alumni Day on Saturday, March 24. The AAA hosted a round table, at which alumni gave career advice to current students and a panel of AASU presidents.
When Shreya Raman first became the Asian American Student Union (AASU) Alumni Chair, she discussed the historically weak ties to the Asian American Alumni with President Ianne Itchon. Raman and Itchon created a timeline outlining a plan to forge relationships and practice mentorship with AAA.
“This year we wanted it to be a turning point where the relationship between students and alumni are stronger,” Raman said. “So students can use that bridge to connect with Asian American alumni to find more job opportunities and get advice – both professional and personal.”
Once Raman entered her term in September 2017, AASU collaborated with Phillip Cheng, the interim president for AAA, to create better communication through monthly newsletters. The relationship blossomed into entertaining the idea of an alumni reunion during the spring semester. Annually, AASU Week is associations held in spring, so they decided to make Alumni Day a part of that week of celebrations.
Alexander Cena, the Asian Pacific Islander Affairs director between 2013 and 2016, was invited to speak at the AASU week closing ceremony and also attended the presidents panel.
“I think having an alumni association is hugely important because it’s a revolving door. It’s going to bring the world to you, and it’s going to bring you to the world,” Cena said.
Cena praised the work of AAA and spoke on the power of alumni associations since they allow employers to know what type of student leaders are coming out of the professional development pipeline. AAA has the ability to prepare students for future job trends and equip them with the advantage of knowing more established employees at their dream jobs.
Photos by Cheyenne Cheng.