CSU’s alumni college is tossing its old ways – like tailgating for sports games and fundraising – to focus on personal and professional development for those connected to the university.
“Alumni (interaction) is more sports-surrounded or social, and to most alumni, that’s not exciting,” said Jean Morgenweck, director of the Alumni College. “They are not in that point in their life. … People would like an intellectual connection to their Alma Mater.”
After learning of this need, focus groups were held to figure out exactly what to teach.
It was in these groups where it was realized that it wasn’t just alumni who wanted a connection to the school. The study found that spouses of alumni, as well as others, also wanted to be involved.
That’s why these courses are open to almost anyone.
“If you like the colors green and gold, or like our fight song, it’s enough – you’re in,” said Albert Powell, director of independent learning at CSU.
This includes non-traditional students, who might already be in the workforce and the same age as some graduates.
The courses are also designed to be age-specific, helping to reach the needs of graduates at all walks of life.
“The needs of alumni at 10 years after graduation are going to be different than those who graduated 30 years ago,” Morgenweck said. “There will be courses like building the career ladder for the younger graduates and another for the more mature alumni that may have kids going into college.”
This concept of being able to grow with CSU after graduation is something even freshman can look forward to.
“It is really nice to know that CSU cares about expanding our education and helping us be successful in our jobs after graduation at this point in college,” said Stephanie Dudley, a freshman interior design major. “That kind of support really makes you appreciate the school even more.”
Most of the course teachers are CSU alumni themselves, including prominent alumnus, realtor Dave Dornan, who is set to teach a unique class called “conflict jujitsu.”
“Conflict jujitsu is a way to harness and capture energy in conflict and turn it positive,” Powell said. “It’s based off the martial art idea that someone can take their opponents energy and deflect it.”
These programs are also another way for CSU to continue with their land grant motto: Outreach, education, research, and service to the community.
“A lot of private schools just teach,” Morgenweck said. “But as a land-grant institution, we have an expanded mission to go beyond and reach out to all people of Colorado.”
For more information on classes and dates, visit www.alumnicollege.colostate.edu.
Skylar Rick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org