Kelly Broecker, 28, remembers the juicy smell of barbecue, the empty cans that provided much-needed hydration and the students full of green and gold pride littering the field in front of Hughes Stadium.
“Tailgating before CSU football games is something I will never forget about college,” said Broecker, a 1998 CSU graduate.
Broecker is among thousands of graduates from CSU who are not members of the Alumni Association.
“It’s a financial situation,” Broecker said. “They ask too much of you when you haven’t really established yourself in the business world.”
The cost of becoming a member, $100 annually, may be one reason for not joining, but other students might just not know what the association does.
“The Alumni Association is a catalyst for connecting alumni back to CSU,” said Colleen Meyer, interim director of the Alumni Relations Office. “The association also educates current students about what it means to be alumni.”
For current students, the Alumni Association sponsors an event called “Generations,” where it invites freshmen and their CSU alumni relatives to a barbecue. “Zerunion” is another event the association holds in May for graduating seniors. It invites fall and spring graduates to an evening of free food and alcohol and tests their knowledge of CSU traditions.
For students who want to be a part of the Alumni Association while still in school, there is a program called the Student Alumni Connection.
“They are champions for educating students about traditions at CSU,” Meyer said.
Becoming a member of the Alumni Association right after graduating can also offer specific benefits. By joining, students are eligible for short-term discount medical coverage.
“This benefits those graduates that might not have a job right out of college,” Meyer said.
Also, a discount moving company offers alumni members up to 60 percent off for those graduates who might be changing states for their new jobs.
The association also sponsors tailgates at all the CSU games for members and sets up get-togethers once a year all over the nation for alumni.
“It’s really a social program,” Meyer said. “People feel a sense of friendship when they know someone else has graduated from CSU.”
Bill Woods, member and president-elect of the Alumni Association, believes being a member of the alumni association is worth it.
“I feel like I am giving back to the university through my time and effort,” Woods said. “It allows me to keep in touch with what is going on at the university.”
Woods said graduating students should join the Alumni Association.
“The university is not going to get any better without active alums,” he said.