By Michael Bolanz ’00
Photo by Sean Pavone
The 2013 launch of the College’s first regional alumni chapter was a welcoming moment for the College and its growing community of alumni. This inaugural chapter, located in Boston, Massachusetts, has set the tone for a great number of new projects for the College community, including greater outreach and a new variety of alumni events. But its launch also begs the question, isn’t it time we created more regional chapters?
Alumni chapters are volunteer-driven organizations that reflect the pride of Saint Joseph’s alumni—no matter where they live. Through the activities of chapters, we are able to engage and connect with a higher number of alumni than the office of Alumni Relations and the Alumni Association Board could do through its individual efforts.
Alumni chapters serve alumni by providing opportunities to socialize and network through organized socials, service events, and activities in their local communities. They also help alumni stay connected with their alma mater by keeping them informed about major events at the College or by providing the opportunity for alumni to share memories of their years at Saint Joseph’s College. They can also serve as a resource for recent grads as well as current students by offering mentorships, internships, and even career opportunities through the bond we all share as being part of the Saint Joseph’s College community.
So, there are a lot of positives to the existence of a regional chapter, but how can we actually create more? Here’s the history of the Boston Chapter.
The Boston Chapter’s success came directly from the volunteer work of our alumni in the Boston area. RJ Turner ’98, who is a current member of the Alumni Association Board, took on the role as chair of the Boston Chapter. Establishing a leader is important.
“Having an alumni chapter in Boston allows us to extend the reach even farther from our ‘home base’ in Standish,” says Turner. “The success we’ve come to find these last three years has allowed for this to happen, and it’s only going to get better. I am just glad I can be a part of it.”
In addition to Turner, the Boston Chapter is spearheaded by a group of dedicated alumni all serving vital roles in its organization and continuing success. There’s Jen Taylor ’03,’09, who is the acting vice chair; Jesse Beer ’01, who serves as the events coordinator; Laura Conti ’04, communications coordinator; and Kelly Bedard ’06, the chapter’s secretary. Of course, there are more volunteers who are making this happen: Matt Cotreau ’10, Dan Giusti ’03, Patrick Murphy ’05, and Erin Scanlon ’98.
“The Boston Chapter is good for the area,” says Beer, “as it allows alumni to generate friendships and create a closer bond to the College. As we grow the Boston Chapter, I hope we can find ways to continually add to the number of involved alumni.”
After determining leadership positions and formalizing the chapter’s intention to exist, thrive, and expand, there must be a kick-off event. After all, you have to give your chapter’s members what they’re asking for. The Boston Chapter, seeking to connect alumni with each other and the College, did not disappoint.
The Boston Chapter was launched at a December 2013 Christmas party at The Whiskey Priest in Boston’s Seaport District. The event brought nearly 50 alumni together to celebrate the holidays and raise money and canned food items for Catherine’s Cupboard Food Pantry.
Boston’s next event, on February 22, featured a “Home-Away-From-Home” social at the Cherry Tree Bar and Grille in West Newton, prior to attending a Monks men’s basketball match at Lasell College.
Boston’s third event took place on March 15 at TD Garden, for a game between the Boston Bruins and the Carolina Hurricanes.
These locations allowed alumni to connect with each other and to simply enjoy the perks of having a group of people who all share a common bond: Saint Joseph’s College.
So, that’s the “who” and the “how” of creating a regional alumni chapter. But there must be some fine print to all of this, right?
Actually, there isn’t.
All Saint Joseph’s College alumni are members of the Alumni Association, a non-dues-paying organization. When alumni in a specific region initiate a chapter, all alumni within that geographic area are considered members of the chapter and are welcomed to attend all chapter events.
On the heels of such a successful launch of the College’s first chapter, the Alumni Office is looking to expand the network of regional chapters to serve all areas where alumni live. And where, exactly, do they live? The Association’s reach includes all 50 states. (Yes, Alaska and Hawaii, we’ve got you covered.) Whether you’re one of the 902 alumni living in Florida or one of the 134 in Washington, there are plenty of grads in your state to organize a regional chapter.
If you are interested in starting a chapter in your area, contact Michael Bolanz ’00 in the Alumni Office at 207-893-7894 or firstname.lastname@example.org
for more information.