By ERIC MCKENZIE
Conestoga students and alumni may still be unaware of the VIP treatment they can receive thanks to the Alumni Association.
Programs provided by the association were highlighted at their annual general meeting on Nov. 15 at bloom, where Conestoga’s culinary program provided gourmet hors d’oeuvres and desserts.
Over $97,000 was raised by the Alumni Association this year for programs and awards, said treasurer Debra Fagerdahl, who also works for Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro as a manager of accounting.
“The goal of the Alumni Association is to spend what we bring in and give it back to the college,” said Fagerdahl, who jokingly added, “as an accountant this goes against everything I stand for.”
Besides giving out about $10,000 worth of awards to current students this month at the Alumni of Distinction Awards ceremony, the Alumni Association provides many other services.
An important service the association started in June is e-Connections, a magazine emailed to 29,000 alumni to keep them up-to-date on what the association is doing.
“We always knew Conestoga alumni were out there but now we actually send something out to them and have them reply back,” said Jan Bockmaster, manager of Alumni Services.
An example was when the School of Business was looking for experienced mentors for their entrepreneurial class and e-Connections helped alumni connect with 22 students “who were thrilled,” said Bockmaster.
Some new programs provided by Alumni Services for current students were discussed and they included the Oktoberfest breakfast, the exclusive ski and snowboard day at Alpine Ski Park and the alumni dinner at bloom in September.
The biggest event was the annual Alumni and Friends open golf tournament fundraiser at Whistle Bear Golf Course, which saw 140 golfers raise $46,000.
In April the Alumni Association partnered with Conestoga Students Inc. for the first time at the free pancake breakfast, which served students over 1,000 pancakes in the fall. The event went so well another pancake breakfast is planned for the spring, said Bockmaster.
“We did something really fun. We used upside down Frisbees as plates and after the students ate they threw them around and just had a blast.”
Another program, the Ontario Colleges Marketing Competition (OCMC), was highlighted at the meeting by third-year marketing students Alannah Garside, Nathan Greene and Chelsea Drung.
The OCMC, held at Humber College this year, is a quiz bowl that helps marketing students network with 15 other colleges, as well as compete in a Jeopardy-style game to showcase and hone the marketing skills they have learned at Conestoga.
“It would be almost impossible to do all of our training without the Alumni Association. We thank you again,” said Greene.
The association’s biggest source of revenue is Johnson Insurance, which has raised over half of the money generated in royalties and sponsorship. Johnson also offers discounts to alumni on health, home and car insurance policies.
“We can only keep making this place better and add value for graduates so they can take more and more pride in their credentials,” said John Tibbits, president of Conestoga.