Finding a community after graduation can be a challenge for many, but Christi Lineberry, director of chapters and regional engagement, says joining an alumni chapter can make a tremendous impact on life after college.
“The great thing about alumni chapters in particular is that you have people that you already have common ground with because you have a similar experience at Virginia Tech,” Lineberry said. “Especially if you're someone who's moving around a lot, being able to find people in your local area that you can easily connect with and help build your professional network is really helpful.”
Joining an alumni chapter can provide a myriad of benefits — most notably social experiences. Moving to an unfamiliar area or branching into a new career can feel isolating, but joining a chapter can ease the process.
“Come out to events,” Lineberry said. “That's probably the quickest and easiest way to meet people. It doesn't matter if you're an introvert or an extrovert because there's always going to be somebody there that you can talk to and really feel like you are a part of a community.”
So when should you join an alumni chapter? Lineberry suggests reaching out after moving to a new area after graduation. If you are just starting out in your career, alumni chapters are a great way to find jobs and networking or to just simply learn more about a new region.
While joining alumni chapters can seem daunting, Lineberry recommends starting off with an updated alumni profile. She advises to keep your information up to date through the Hokie portal at https://alumni.vt.edu.
“You will be able to get emails from the alumni office about what activities are in your area and communication about upcoming events, community service projects, or even virtual programming that may be of interest to connect you with the locals,” she said.
The alumni association has more than 100 chapters across the country and around the world. The Washington, D.C., chapter is one of the biggest chapters in the country, serving over 40,000 alumni members in the surrounding area.
Vasanth Ganesan, president of the D.C. Metro Area Chapter, said the group’s primary focus is engaging with local alumni through social events and volunteer opportunities. Members also are passionate about raising funds for local student scholarships as part of Virginia Tech’s focus on access and affordability.
“It becomes a really enjoyable social group where you can enact meaningful change,” Ganesan said. “A lot of Virginia Tech students are familiar with programs like The Big Event that also foster community engagement, so this is another way to give back to the university with your time and effort.”
There are other ways to stay connected as an alum if you are unsure about joining a chapter, Lineberry said.
“There are a million different ways to keep engaged with Virginia Tech, whether it's mentoring with the career and professional development office or being on a board within your college,” she said.
Don’t know where to start? Lineberry points to a few specialized alumni groups that are a great place to begin your alumni journey.
- Multicultural alumni societies help alumni connect with people in similar identity groups.
- Young alumni committees are great for those who graduated in the last decade and are looking for people in a similar age group.
- Cornerstone Alumni are Virginia Tech’s most engaged and passionate alumni who graduated 50 or more years ago.
“No matter where you are in your life cycle, there is always a way to connect back into Virginia Tech that is meaningful for you,” Lineberry said.
Written by Cyna Mirzai, a senior and an intern for Virginia Tech Communications and Marketing