Are you connected to an ISU alumni club? If not, you might be missing out!
First, a brief history...
As far as the Alumni Association's records indicate, Iowa State alumni chapters (later called clubs) began in the 1930s as a way for alumni and friends to promote Iowa State beyond campus boundaries. While the exact number of clubs that existed in the early years is not documented, we do know that Iowa State has had both a national and international presence for more than 80 years.
80 years and still going strong
Today, the establishment of local alumni clubs is typically driven by regional interest. An alum will contact the Association and express an interest in starting a club in his or her local area. The Association then works with the volunteer to determine the number of alumni in the area and help plan a kick-off event to gauge the interest of local alumni in supporting a club. On the rare occasions when Iowa State has high alumni numbers in an area but no volunteer engagement, the Association will reach out to the alumni in a specific area and work with them to launch one.
Tillie Good ('04 political science), the Association's assistant director of outreach & events, recommends that if an alum wants to get involved:
- First, always be sure to update your contact information with ISU when you move. Club communication about area events is sent out via email based on the address that is on file for each alum.
- Next, look to see if there is an alumni club in your area. If there isn't, consider starting one. If there is, check out the club website for upcoming events. You can find a list of clubs and club contacts online at www.isualum.org/clubs.
- You can also use the club list to reach out to the club leader to express an interest in involvement or volunteer to organize an upcoming event. Club leaders are always looking to get more alumni involved.
Young Alumni News recently sat down and chatted with the heads of both of the ISUAA Clubs of Kansas City and the Twin Cities. Both clubs have a large, active alumni membership base and provide many networking opportunities and events. Not only do these clubs have a large number of members, they also have quality programs and events that have been successful over the years.
Kansas City -- Kyle Flander ('03 industrial tech), president, pictured at far right
Q. What are your upcoming and key events that you hold?
A. Every year we organize an ISU-Iowa [Cy-Hawk] golf tournament challenge in June. It is a great event, and we even have a trophy that is kept at the winner’s alumni bar in town. The tournament is usually over capacity and is evenly split between the two schools. Football gamewatches are big events for us as well. We typically get very good turnouts at one or two various bars in the city – namely Kelly’s or the Brooksider. In addition, we usually organize a road trip to an away game, in which we rent a bus for alumni in the area that are interested. Last year we went to K-State in Manhattan. We also host gamewatches for basketball and typically plan a marquee basketball gamewatch that we hold at Boulevard Brewery once a year. Also, because the Big 12 tournament is usually held in KC, we coordinate events and an annual “tip-off” party for Cyclone alumni in town and those who travel to KC.
Q. What events does your club offer that are outside gamewatches?
A. We hosted a coffee tasting event at The Roasterie, a coffee brewery and café located in the Brookside area of Kansas City, which happens to be owned by ISU alum Danny O’Neill. We had a good turnout and the event was well received. The club also hosted a wine tasting event at a winery that produced a great turnout as well. The Club of KC has a lot of active members that have young children, so we are also developing events for families. Our next big event will be at a Sporting KC match -- Kansas City’s professional soccer team that has been growing in popularity in the region. We also have planned an ice skating event that we would like to make a yearly event held in the winter.
Q. Are there any community service events that you hold?
A. We do host various community service events, and our biggest event we recently held was a walk-a-thon in connection with Cy’s Days of Service. We had a very good turnout for that event and even won the award for the club with the largest participation rate, so we’re proud of that!
Q. What is the demographic make-up of the club (age, professions, etc.)?
A. It usually depends on the event, but I would say that the majority of our active members are usually between the ages of 25-35. Within that group, we have a lot of diversity in terms of where these members reside in the KC area and their careers.
Q. Who makes up the leadership, and how can one get involved in leadership within the club?
A. The club of KC has a volunteer board that typically meets every two months. It is comprised of a president (me), vice president, treasurer, gamewatch coordinators, and other event coordinators. We do not have a formal process to get involved, so what we usually do is host a “call to action” meeting and invite people to come and get involved. We do not usually hold elections, but offer open invitations to anyone who wants to get involved and volunteer for a position. It’s really a collaborative effort, and we have fun working together and planning events for the club. Outside of the planning of our normal events, the board’s next big initiative is to expand into Lawrence and help support our alumni in that region.
Twin Cities -- Russel Snyder ('73 landscape architecture), president
Q. What are your upcoming and key events that you hold?
A. Our Cyclone-Hawkeye best ball golf outing is July 21. This is an annual event, but this year is the first year we have expanded it by inviting the local Hawkeye club to participate.
Q. What events does your club offer that are outside gamewatches?
A. The annual golf outing. Quarterly social hours (happy hours with an emphasis on social connections and networking.) We need to get more of these back on the calendar and are looking for alumni volunteers to help with this. We have done periodic river and lake cruises. We are currently checking into costs to charter a cruise on the historic excursion boat Minnehaha on Lake Minnetonka. Events beyond social hours, golf, and gamewatches are a challenge in this busy metropolitan area. Travel times across the metro are a big consideration, and we are also competing against a multitude of activities that a major metro area offers.
Q. Are there any professional or networking events that you hold?
At this time, just the social (aka “happy hours”) hours. We have some ideas to have some presentations by ISU members on topics that might be of general interest (example, one of our alumni is a motivational speaker and consultant who could do a breakfast or coffee presentation). One thing we have to be careful with is inquires that are more focused on “selling” something to our alumni, which isn’t what our events are specifically geared for.
Q. What is unique about your club?
A. With over 10,000 ISU alumni in the Twin Cities metro area, we have the largest concentration of ISU alumni outside of Iowa!
Q. How do you "live Iowa State?"
Obviously by volunteering time for the ISUAA and assisting the ISU Foundation where I can. My closest friends all seem to have an ISU connection. Some here in the Twin Cities are people I was a student with at ISU, but a number of them I met through ISUAA outings in the last 10 years.
Cy's Days of Service success
The first annual Cy's Days of Service (April 2012) was a sweeping success, as ISU alumni volunteered more than 1,500 hours of community service nationwide. This new community service initiative spearheaded by the Iowa State University Alumni Association and supported by the Young Alumni Council (check out a photo of the Council volunteering for the food pantry during their spring meeting) included 178 projects that were reported during the month of April 2012. We're looking for even more in 2013, as Cy's Days of Service will become an annual event during VEISHEA month. It's never too early to start brainstorming a great service project to do next April.
Alumni and friends from across the U.S. have logged service projects on the ISU Alumni Association’s website at www.isualum.org/cysdaysofservice. Participants came from 24 states and as far away as Sherwood, Ore.
“We’re really encouraged by the response we received in our first year,” ISUAA director of outreach & events Julie Larson (MS '84 higher ed) said. “People really seemed to embrace this concept and had a lot of pride in providing community service in the name of Iowa State. We look forward to next year and anticipate even greater participation as the word continues to get out about Cy’s Days of Service.”
ISUAA Member Benefit: Kaplan Test Prep & Admissions
Did you know that ISU Alumni Association members receive 10% off Kaplan's comprehensive courses taken through the Des Moines or Iowa City Kaplan Centers? Be sure to mention the discount before ordering; one discount per family per year.
The ISU Alumni Association's monthly career newsletter, ISUAA CareerLink, has been published for June. Read the current issues as well as past issues online at www.isualum.org/career.
Online Clearance Sales
The ISU Alumni Association's online store is currently featuring not only its regular summer clearance sale (including special pricing on the super stylish Cuce Shoes boots for women), but also a special T Galaxy clearance sale. The Ames merchant recently closed its doors after more than 40 years.
- Among the administrative changes recently announced by new ISU President Steven Leath are the hiring of Miles Lackey as associate vice president and the promotion of College of Engineering dean Jonathan Wickert to the position of senior vice president & provost.
- Mufit Akinc has been named interim dean of the College of Engineering in light of Wickert's new duties. The College of Engineering and College of Business are both currently conducting dean searches as Business' Labh Hira is currently serving as interim president of the ISU Foundation and has announced his plans to retire.
- Georgia State University's Pamela Anthony has been named ISU's next dean of students. She will begin her work on campus Aug. 1.
- The ISU Alumni Association has launched a new website and Facebook page in celebration of the upcoming "Cytennial" Homecoming -- the 100th anniversary of a great ISU tradition in 2012.
- Last month, University Professor of economics Peter Orazem presented at the global Copenhagen Consensus 2012 – an event that brought together the world’s top thinkers to develop strategies for using limited resources to improve education in developing nations.
- Earlier this month, director of ISU's Climate Change Program Gene Takle addressed a USDA panel on the effects of climate change on agriculture.
- The ISU Letterwinners Club has announced its 2012 Athletics Hall of Fame class, which will be inducted Sept. 14.
- At its April 26 meeting in Cedar Falls, the Iowa Board of Regents approved an administrative reorganization of ISU’s College of Design that will take effect in July. The reorganization changes the college’s departments from four (architecture, landscape architecture, community and regional planning, art and design) to seven (replacing art and design with graphic design, industrial design, interior design, and integrated studio arts).
- Iowa native Bob Bowlsby has been named the fourth commissioner of the Big 12 Conference, replacing Dan Beebe. The conference will officially welcome new members West Virginia and TCU July 1.
- All-American Nate McCoy (’12 communication studies) closed out his Cyclone golf career last Thursday by carding a 72 in the final round of the NCAA championships at the Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif. The first Cyclone to appear in the championships since 1980, McCoy finished the tournament in a tie for 29th out of 156 competitors with a score of 217 (72-73-72).
- Distance runner Betsy Saina, who won the NCAA 5K indoor title before redshirting the outdoor season, and golfer Nate McCoy ('12 comm studies) have been named ISU's 2011-2012 Athletes of the Year.
- Current Cyclone distance runner Meaghan Nelson will compete at the U.S. Track & Field Olympic Trials Friday in Eugene, Ore. In addition, current Iowa State swimmer Imelda Wistey has qualified for the U.S. Olympic trials (June 26-27) in the 100-meter breaststroke. Iowa State alum Jake Varner ('10 interdis studies) has already punched his ticket to London as a member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic wrestling team. In addition, basketball player Melvin Ejim is currently pursuing a possible spot on the Nigerian Olympic basketball team, and distance runner Betsy Saina recently ran the 10K at the Kenyan Olympic trials, though she did not qualify.