3rd Thursday Connects Students to Alumni Office

Carpenter (center) and Assistant V.P. for Advancement Steve Matteson (right) help serve at the 3rd Thursday event.

Something new and exciting is stirring in the alumni office on campus. It’s called 3rd Thursday, and it’s a monthly event designed to connect current students with the alumni office. Aaron Carpenter, senior director of development, says 3rd Thursday began with the hope that students would build relationships with the alumni office that would hopefully continue beyond graduation.

Connecting with Students Now

This month’s 3rd Thursday event, actually hosted on Tuesday, Oct. 16, due to fall break, involved fun music, a corn hole tournament, make-your-own Chex Mix, apple cider and raffles. This event, located outside of the Huffman Administration Building, was hosted by the alumni office, with the help of institutional advancement student interns, to educate current students about the alumni services, and to make connections between these students and current alumni. So far, the reception has been positive.

“There are tons of people here, and I’ve seen people walking around, and people are talking about it, so I think everyone’s enjoying it,” says senior Brittany Fabris.

Junior Skyler Stutzman agrees. “I like the corn hole and everything else; the apple cider looks good.”

While this event was successful in reaching out to students on campus, the hope is that, in the future, students would also be able to connect with alumni. Students will gradually learn about what it means to be a good alum, but the immediate goal is to establish those first connections.

“We’ve created 3rd Thursday as just kind of a fun event to attract students to our general area here so they know where the office is,” Carpenter says.

Connecting with Students in the Future

While the alumni office has achieved their goal of connecting with students and alumni separately, their goal for the future is to host events that connect current students with alumni directly. One of the most significant projects the alumni office, guided by director Lois Pannabecker, has been working on to achieve this student-alumni connection is the senior gift project. Last year the classes of 2012 and 1962 joined forces to fund the building of the new amphitheater. In the future, however, the alumni office wants to connect alumni with students sooner, so that the project can gain momentum over the course of four years in order to consistently make a significant contribution to the campus.

Clearly, the alumni office has begun to leave its own legacy here on campus through 3rd Thursday. And though alumni do connect with students, it’s not nearly as much as the alumni office would like to see. Students are looking forward to more connections  in the future.

We’ve got to start more traditions like this on campus, I hope this is just one of many,” says Carpenter.

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