Carnival season is already a highlight to most Cajuns living in south Louisiana, but this year’s Mardi Gras festivit
Bonne année, Ragin’ Cajuns! The Alumni Association is excited for a new year of planning events and raising funds with our alumni, but not before we reflect on all that was accomplished in 2017.
A year ago, the Association wanted to focus on engaging all alumni of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, from those that still live in Acadiana to those across the globe. It started by restructuring and becoming all-inclusive so that every graduate became a member of the Alumni Association. With that came other efforts to establish new engagement events and programs by reviving a few Ragin’ Cajun clubs and chapters, welcoming back alumni with reunions, and other collaborations with our university and community partners.
Multiple Ragin’ Cajun Clubs were reinstated in 2017. The Young Alumni Chapter hit the ground running this summer under new leadership. In a few short months, the chapter held a mixer, trivia night, and its annual pub crawl. The Communications Alumni Chapter and West Louisiana Ragin’ Cajun Club also held their own social events in hopes of getting alumni involved. The Association of Future Alumni is also undergoing restructure which includes philanthropy and engagement committees.
The Alumni Association took part in the most number of reunions in recent years, including different interest groups. In 2017, Kappa Sigma pledge classes from the 1960s returned to campus, along with the USL class of 1967 for their Golden Reunion. Other reunions included a Gridiron Alumni Chapter Reunion weekend, the Nursing Class of 1977, an Alumni Band Weekend, Masters in Biology Reunion for the 1975-1983 graduates, and the first Engineering Alumni Chapter Reunion during Homecoming Weekend.
Staying busy with reunions and club and chapter events wasn’t all the Alumni Association did in 2017. It kept with its goal of continuing collaborations across campus and the community as well as establishing a few new ones. Local artists joined the Association for the second annual Art of Giving student scholarship fundraiser with the UL Press joining in as a new addition. The Realtors Association also collaborated with the Association for a “Savvy Steps” mini seminar for first time home buyers.
The B.I. Moody III College of Business, Ray P. Authement College of Sciences, and College of the Arts all took their part in collaborating for a new Lunch and Learn series for current students. Alumni speakers included Michael Conway, Ed Mathes, and Dr. Kip Schumacher. Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Athletics and One Acadiana also participated in events with the Alumni Association.
The Alumni Association focused on reconnecting with alumni that it has lost touch with. The Memory Vault campaign was established for alumni to respond with their memories but also supply us with their updated email and address information. With this updated contact information, we can send our new email newsletter Accents (like the one you are reading) and news about local and regional Ragin’ Cajun gatherings.
The Association has had many successes this past year and attributes these wins to the support its sponsors have given. Over $140,000 was received in sponsorship dollars. The Alumni Association is also very grateful to the numerous volunteers! “The staff alone could not facilitate the many events hosted without their assistance of working check in, serving food, securing sponsors, etc.,” said Jennifer LeMeunier, Executive Director of Alumni Affairs. “Thank you to the Executive Board, Club & Chapter Presidents, Council members, Past Presidents, and our Homecoming, Spring Gala, Bingo & Bubbly and awards committees. We thank you for your time and passion representing the Alumni Association and University.” What a year it has been, and we look forward to continuing our growth in 2018.