Once a Johnnie, always a Johnnie

The Student Alumni Association (SAA) and the Office of Alumni Relations work actively to connect alumni with students through various networking opportunities.

According to the Office of Alumni Relations, 82 percent of St. John’s graduates are located in the tri-state area, putting them in a viable position to assist current students with their goals.

Andrea T. Papa, associate director for Student Engagement and Alumni Relations, said her office encourages alumni-student networking.

“I understand the power of networking, and so do the alumni-they really care,” Papa said. “SAA is unique because students get a fast-track experience to the reality of having to leave school and enter the real world.”

The association also offers a special program called The Alumni Insider’s View.

Through the program, alumni speak to students with insights into their chosen profession or field. The programs include a three-day trip to Washington, D.C. with private tours and face-to-face interaction with alumni who work as professionals in the District. Similar day trips to the New York State Capitol and Wall Street are also offered.

“The trips are very popular, but we have limited space and while we would love to accept everyone, we always end up turning people away,” Papa said.

Elsen Jacob, president of the association during the 2007-08 school year, said the alumni always spoke about the impact St. John’s had on their life.

“As students, we got to hear from alumni on just how much St. John’s helps to shape a person’s life,” Elsen said. “The alumni we met really had a great appreciation for how St. John’s factored into their future.

Whether it was the educational opportunities they received, the career paths that were shaped here, or even finding their spouses here, the alumni were always grateful for the University’s role in their lives.”

Student service programs, such as the Career Center SHARE Program and Learning Communities, are also offered in collaboration with The Office of Alumni Relations and SAA.

The Career Center SHARE Program allows students to shadow alumni in the place of business mid-semester and during finals breaks, as well as during summer and winter recesses.

Similarly, the Learning Communities Program allows students to be involved in an alumni’s place of business. This program provides position specific mentoring for the student.

Additionally, the SAA and the Office of Alumni Relations work together throughout the school year to have a presence during events on campus. Representatives of two alumni associations are present during Accepted Students Receptions, Move-In Day and Commencement.

“We want the students to know who we are before they graduate,” Papa said.

Susan Jacob, publicity chair during the 2007 school year, spoke about the benefits of being involved with SAA.

“Alumni would come in and conduct mock interviews and offer professional advice,” Susan said. “It helps you to grow as a professional.

“Some of them would say it had an impact on the way to view life and approached things because of the Vincentian service aspect of the school. It was important perspective to take into the world.”