For students, the new year really begins in September. This is especially true for new students, who often arrive on campus as eager as kids at Christmas to begin what will be the adventure of a lifetime as an entirely new world opens up to them at the University of Alberta.
For us here at the University, there’s a special energy that blows into campus with the arrival of the new students. You can almost feel the enthusiasm of youth, the unbridled belief in the possibility of dreams and the embrace of an adventure that’s sure to be life-altering. With all this passion and energy swirling about it reminds us of one of our primary goals: to welcome all students — new and old — into the alumni family.
Seeing all the new students on campus takes me back to my own initial experiences here, when I first arrived on campus and before I found my own U of A. Finding that special experience is what any university is all about. No two experiences are alike, but beyond that there is still a sense of continuity in the history and traditions of the University that — in the U of A’s case — now stretch back over 100 years.
Over those years the student body at the U of A has grown more and more diverse. For instance, the largest alumni branch is now the Hong Kong Alumni Association. Over 500 alumni showed up in Hong Kong for a convocation ceremony with U of A President Indira Samarasekera during the University’s centenary.
This issue’s story on China features some of those Hong Kong connections. Through research collaborations, shared learning and, of course, alumni relationships, we continue to strengthen our bonds with China. But one of the most effective ways to foster the U of A’s ties with China is to ensure that the many Chinese students who come here have an incredible experience — inside and outside the classroom — so that they will always speak highly of their alma mater wherever they go.
This goes for all of our students — wherever they come from — when they join the alumni family. And as alumni, you can help enhance the student experience by contributing as volunteers, attending Bears or Pandas games, or taking part in student mentorship programs. To get involved with helping students find their own U of A experience and become great ambassadors for the University, contact the Office of Alumni Affairs at email@example.com.
Sean Price, ’95 BCom, MBA
Associate Vice-President, Alumni Affairs
Executive Director, Alumni Association