Alumni groups are an excellent way for former students to keep in touch—especially when members live across the pond.
A new alumni group has been created for the students who went through the Bremen University study abroad program in Germany as well as those currently in the program.
Michael Thompson, director of International Student Services, said staff at International Student Services have been thinking about setting up an alumni group because of the success of the program, but Yvonne Kruschel, alumni member and chapter president, was the one to initiate the construction of the group.
Alumni director Kaylynn Larson said Kruschel approached her about setting up the new chapter and agreed to it.
The alumni group will give students who went through the program, and are currently in it, a chance to keep in touch.
The exchange program with Bremen University in Germany was started by faculty and is in its sixth year, said Michael Hasfurther, an international advisor for International Student Services.
During the fall, two or three students from Bremen and two to three from DSU participate in the exchange for one semester, Hasfurther said.
The alumni group is currently for the students in the Bremen University study abroad program, but Larson said they are planning to expand by inviting more students from Germany to join the group.
“Every semester when our Bremen students leave it’s sad,” said Carole Hulet, assistant director of International Student Services. “They really have bonded here with professors, faculty [and] other students.”
Hulet said the alumni group will be a formal place where members can stay connected and share experiences.
The group gives members a chance to network, discuss job opportunities, and share stories about their experiences, Larson said.
“Chapters are a great support group for each other but also for the [university],” Larson said.
Hulet said she hopes more students in Bremen can become aware of DSU and what it has to offer.
“We also hope in Bremen more students will become aware of Dixie,” Hulet said. “More students [will] maybe have an opportunity to apply for the exchange, and again, create awareness for what a great program we have.”
Larson said the members of the alumni group are planning a large November event where the group will get to together in Germany.
“We want [the German alumni] to know what’s going on at the school,” Larson said. “[We are getting] the new degrees [and] the advancements. It’s nice to be able to tell them what’s happening at the school since they left.”
Hulet said along with the November event, members and staff are planning a kick-off event in September here in the area.
Thompson said he hopes the new alumni group will help increase the diversity and international opportunities for students on campus, which is a main mission of ISS.
“Our whole purpose and goal is to provide diversity to our campus and give our students opportunities to go abroad and learn about what’s out in the world,” Thompson said.