I saw my daughter, Caitlyne, become an adult at the University of Alberta.
She started to notice the world around her like never before. She began to question, test and explore ideas. She found her voice and point of view — expressing independent opinions and debating issues.
Rather than just move through the world, she awakened to the fact that she has a role to play in the world and started to contribute.
Looking back, I’d say the same thing happened to me in my university experience.
Gaining a degree is important — it’s a motivator and often a prerequisite to a career. At the same time, perhaps the deeper value of a university education is the engaged and active citizens it produces. University provides a freedom to explore and express that helps us realize that community is something we build, together. And, as community members, we have a responsibility to contribute where we can.
My role with the U of A Alumni Association connects me to a wide range of people who care enough to get involved and build community. U of A alumni are everywhere — in business, non-profits, the public service and every sector of our economy. Alumni are active locally, nationally and worldwide, contributing in their chosen occupations but also, and perhaps more importantly, in volunteer pursuits.
The U of A is exceptional in providing students and alumni volunteers with leadership and citizen development opportunities. A diverse army of volunteers contributes to the U of A board of governors, senate, alumni council, faculty student associations and an almost endless number of events, activities, forums, committees and advisory groups.
Alumni council is currently seeking to fill a number of positions. Have a look at who we are and what we do and consider what it might mean to you. Our role is community building — connecting alumni to the U of A, and the U of A to alumni. It’s fun. It is fulfilling. It could be exactly what you are looking for. The application form to join is online at uab.ca/joincouncil. Deadline for applications is April 15.
And if not alumni council, there are many other roles you might play. Even alumni who live outside Edmonton can get involved; the alumni community has volunteer opportunities in many communities. You can see them at ualberta.ca/alumni/volunteer.
Community is something we build together. And that is the greater legacy of a University of Alberta education.
Mary Pat Barry, ’04 MA
President, Alumni Association