It takes time. It takes commitment. They could be doing other things. But volunteer members of the alumni association’s board of directors say it’s a meaningful way to keep connected with UVic and its students.
Lesley Patten, BCom ’96, is in her second year as association president and says her board members tend to volunteer because they get a new perspective on the university and they make a contribution to alumni engagement.
“I think university is a major step. For me, like many, it meant leaving home, becoming independent, and meeting a whole new world of friends and subjects to learn,” she says. “While it was difficult, I thoroughly enjoyed my time at UVic and have great memories. If I can help the next generation achieve that and remind other alumni of their time at UVic, all the better.”
Board vice-president Peter Jong, BSc ’03, says volunteering has built upon his experiences as a student and helped him appreciate the role of the association.
“Before I joined the board I wasn’t fully clear on what it did,” says Jong. “I knew it helped to give direction to the association, but I did not know to what extent. I also did not realize the extent that alumni help countless students and groups through grants and bursaries to help fund their education.”
Patten adds: “What really opened my eyes were all the different programs, activities and projects around campus. When I was a student, I was focused on my faculty, not much else. Now I have a much better picture of all that happens at the university.
A newcomer on the board, CHEK TV news anchor Stacy Ross, BFA ’97, agrees. “It’s ironic perhaps, since I earned my degree nearly 20 years ago, but one of the most compelling reasons for joining the board was to learn more about the university. As a student, I spent the bulk of my time in the Theatre Department.
"I’m so grateful to share time with alumni from other departments. I’m already impressed with the work ethic and ambition of the board to offer the best possible service to UVic alumni everywhere.”
As a registered society, the UVic Alumni Association operates independently from the university. It has its own constitution and bylaws and it depends on the volunteer involvement of members of the alumni community.
The 16-member board provides direction to the staff of the UVic Alumni Relations and the delivery of programs and services.