New group forms with goal of uniting past, present students

A new student organization has formed on campus with the goal of helping to create mutually beneficial networks between past and present students here in Murray.

The Student Alumni Association (SAA), the newest student group on campus, hopes that the networks created within the group will both help students find internships and jobs with Murray alumni once they graduate, and keep alumni up to date and involved in the Murray State community.

The SAA campaigned in front of the Carr Health Building last week, enticing potential members with free snow cones.  The groups aim was to inform and recruit students who were curious enough to stop.

Currently, the organization has around 150 members, but that number is growing daily.  The SAA performed similar recruiting days earlier this year, during Summer O.

The Student Alumni Association officially formed June 1st, but had already elected its Board in November.  The Student Alumni Board (SAB) is made up of 20 members: the president, six vice presidents and 13 committee chairs.  The SAB meet almost every week to plan and arrange events for the members.

Besides planning events, each member of the Board has a specific task which they are in charge of, a responsibility that pertains to the organization as a whole.  Kate Withrow is a member of the Board and president of the Student Alumni Association.

Withrow said the SAA’s job is to show its members how to take advantage of the resource that is the alumni of Murray State while also creating a fun experience for them on campus.  She said the alumni of Murray State are not only valuable as potential employers for members after college, but the experiences and stories that the alumni have to share with students are also of great value.

Withrow said the SAA has a variety of upcoming events planned for members this year such as tailgating before football games and other sporting events, clothing drives and a “Golf Scramble” the weekend of Homecoming.  There will also be monthly give-a-ways that will reward members for promoting the group on campus.

SAA members must pay a membership fee of $20 each year, but beyond that, the members have no obligations and are free to attend as many or as few events put on and participated in by the SAA as they like.  However, it is primarily at these planned events that students and alumni will get to meet and network.

The money from the membership fee and fundraisers go toward getting speakers to come talk to the SAA and funding the different events they have planned for the group and student body.

Rachel Foley, the faculty adviser for the SAA, said the group is building off of last year’s Homecoming theme: “Once a Racer, always a Racer.”  She said the idea to start the SAA at Murray came from Jim Carter, the vice president of Institutional Advancement, who wanted to see more prestigious groups on campus.

“The motto of the SAA is ‘students serving students, past, present and future’”, said Foley.  “We want to send off graduates who will come back and give to the SAA, both their money and time.”

Foley said she has seen schools twice the size of Murray that have started student groups such as this and ended their first year with, 1000 members.  Based on this, her goal for the SAA is to have 500 members, by the end of the year.

Foley said she wants a group as diverse as possible to be represented by the Student Alumni Association: greek, non-greek, grad, undergrad, male and female.  Foley said that the SAA is a unique group on campus in that anyone can join, regardless of their affiliations.

The Student Alumni Association will be continuing to recruit members throughout the rest of the year and plan on being very active on and off campus.

Story by Ben Manhanke, Staff writer.