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Spring 2002 l Capital University Journal
Niche by Niche
Specialty chapters bring alumni together

Photo: Brazen, by sculptor Stephen Kaltenbach, one of several faculty and alumni works of art at the Yamshon Alumni CenterWhile they share the same alma mater, Sac State alumni have an extraordinarily diverse range of interests.

That’s where the Alumni Association’s specialty chapters come in. They bring together graduates with common interests and help them build strong relationships, all while supporting programs that gave them an opportunity to succeed.

“The people in these groups talk the same language,” says Linda Scott, alumni membership development director.

The Alumni Association supports nearly two-dozen specialty alumni chapters, ranging from art to women MBA graduates. Some are organized around majors while others represent distinct groups of graduates, such as the Hong Kong Students chapter.

One of the newest is the Chicano/Latino chapter.

Members not only include graduates and faculty, but Chicano and Latino professionals in the Sacramento area. The chapter’s goal is to raise $1 million over five years for scholarships.

“Our five-year plan is very ambitious, but it can be done,” says Dr. José Ramirez, chapter president. Ramirez graduated from Sac State in 1982 and was a founding member of the original Chicano/Latino chapter. That chapter initially dissolved as members moved on to graduate school. In his case, he left the area for medical school at the University of Iowa. He later returned to Sacramento and opened a family practice.

Ramirez says that in addition to scholarships the chapter wants to provide role models for junior high- and high-school students.

“The Hispanic kids entering junior high school have a 50 percent dropout rate in Sacramento,” Ramirez says. “Of those only a certain percentage will reach the state college level. We have to show those kids who might not be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel that there is a light at the end and that they can reach it.”

Like many other chapters, the Recreation and Leisure Studies chapter is interested in strengthening ties between its professionals and the University, says Heather Schrupp, chapter president.

Schrupp graduated from Sac State in 1989 and now works with the Girl Scouts of Tierra del Oro. Membership, she says, has provided her a wide variety of contacts with people who work in fields like hers, including other professionals and talented students.

The College of Business Administration chapter, with more than 850 members, offers alumni a variety of ways to get together. This year the chapter plans a picnic, a business mixer and a mentoring program for undergraduates.

A relatively new chapter, the MBA Women’s chapter, formed after a group of MBA graduates began meeting informally. Chapter president Cathy Daly said that although men and women were both invited to join the new group, only women expressed an interest.

The initial goal of developing mentors has expanded to include other avenues for professional development and community involvement. Always, Daly said, there is a desire to stay linked with Sac State.

“People like to stay connected with the College and the people they worked with,” she says, adding that it isn’t all about work or networking. “We do have fun as a group.”

Details: (916) 278-6295.

Getting involved

If you’re interested in joining a specialty alumni group, you can choose from 20 existing chapters, or start a new one. Current chapters are:

• Art
• Biological Sciences
• Business
• Chicano/Latino
• Communication Studies
• Criminal Justice
• Education
• Engineering and Computer Science
• Family and Consumer Science
• Geography
• Government
• Interior Design
• Kinesiology and Health Science
• Public Policy and Administration
• MBA Women
• Music
• Nursing
• Recreation and Leisure Studies
• Social Work
• Theatre/Dance

Although the alumni association offers a variety of specialty chapters, Linda Scott, alumni membership development director, says there’s always room for another.

Establishing a specialty chapter of the CSUS Alumni Association isn’t hard. It take just 30 interested alumni who are willing to petition the association, then elect officers and establish a charter.

For more information about joining an existing chapter or starting a new one, call the alumni association at (916) 278-6295 or 800-SAC-GRAD.

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