My Role as an Alumnus to my Alma Mater and Alumni Association
Written by: Lehiowo Ogbeche (Yellow House, 2009 Set)
It is no exaggeration when I say that nine out of ten people are nostalgic about the time they spent in school. I call the days I spent in Federal Government College Ikom “the best days of my life”. That does not mean that my current situation is bad; it only goes to prove that those days when I had no real responsibilities other than making good grades and staying out of trouble are evergreen in my mind because I was young, carefree and ready to embrace life with a passion. I have gained so much in character and learning from my school. Therefore, it is now imperative for me to give back as much as I can.
An alumnus is a former student of a school, be it primary, secondary or tertiary. ‘Alumni’ is used to refer to a group of graduates of either one or both genders, while 'alumnus' traditionally refers to a single male graduate, with the feminine term being 'alumna'. Alma mater on the other hand refers to a former institution one has attended.
In the light of the foregoing, an alumni association is an association of graduates or, of former students of an institution. These associations often organize social events, publish newsletters or magazines and raise funds for the organization. The major objective of any alumni association is to give back to their alma mater by rendering assistance to the students through grants, scholarships and prizes; promoting literacy, cultural and other social activities by awareness programs, lectures, essay competitions, exhibitions, symposiums, and seminars; and facilitating the alumni to contribute towards improvement of infrastructure for all round developments of the current students. Other specific objectives include: providing a forum for members to interact and sustain a sense of belonging through mutually beneficial contacts; creating an avenue to exchange views and experiences and share it with the present student of the school; and recognizing academic, professional and other achievements of the alumni and the students and to institute suitable awards.
Alumni play a large role in determining the future and continued development of their former institution. This is because the school’s reputation relies largely on how successful the graduates are in the real world they are. If a school becomes renowned for producing graduates that are intelligent, innovative and effective in their fields, its reputation will grow. This implies that the term ‘alma mater’ is reason enough to uphold the importance of being an alumnus.
The most important role I should assume as an alumnus to my alma mater is to be a good ambassador by upholding the virtues instilled in me by the college. Also, it is my duty to aid in the infrastructural development (refurbishing/building of hostels, library, laboratories, and classrooms) and provision of basic amenities (light, water and medical facilities) for my alma mater through the alumni body. This will provide students with newer technology, better facilities and nicer learning environment. Furthermore, I will work out modalities to establish educational clubs and societies in the school as well as organize excursions to places of historical interest to broaden the students’ purview.
It costs a lot of money to keep an institution functional and her needs are insatiable. I am therefore obliged as an alumnus to wilfully donate/source for funds and/or volunteer my time and/or render services required of me at no cost and for the benefit of the school. My role as an alumnus would be incomplete without my being a role model and/or mentor to the students. This will play a large role in their career selection and development.
As a member of the alumni association, it is my duty to contribute my own quota to the realization of the aims and objectives of the body. This feat can only be attained through working in unison with the leadership of the alumni association. As an individual, I have a key role to play in promoting the association through organizing revivification congresses and reunion parties, reaching out to lackadaisical alumnus/alumna in a bid to lure them into active participation, producing alumni stickers and vests, which would be used to identify fellow alumni members and showing solidarity to fellow alumni members in good and bad times.
Finally, I can contribute to the production and publication of alumni newsletters on a regular basis, to educate and to inform all and sundry the activities of alumni worldwide as well as reports from our alma mater and career progression of fellow alumni members.
In conclusion, I am an ambassador of the Federal Government College Ikom and I will strive to keep her flag flying, at all times. I promise to be a very active alumnus working together with other alumni to make our alma mater continually remain a popular and prestigious institution.