SAIT graduates reconnect with their alma mater through volunteering
Alumni volunteering at SAIT strengthen bonds, both on and off campus. Opportunities include aiding New Student Orientation, Open House, Convocation, the Peer Mentorship Program, career planning and workshops and assisting international students, where grads can improve their communication and leadership skills while creating meaningful, lasting relationships.
One volunteer, Karen Scatolin (BA Supply Chain Management ’23, pictured left), feels strong ties to the campus community and is eager to bridge the gap for new students.
“I wanted to give back the support I received throughout my program,” Scatolin says. “My colleagues, everyone at campus and especially the instructors — they were always very supportive and answered all my questions, even the silly ones.”
This sense of stability allowed Scatolin to focus on the demands of her program, leading to a career in her field of study. She looks forward to helping others define and achieve their goals while honing her leadership skills.
“It gives me an opportunity to practice and interact with students of different backgrounds and try to support their career,” Scatolin says.
A sense of belonging and purpose
Similarly, Raquel Rodulfa ( Graphic Communications and Print Technology ’20, pictured right) was compelled to return to SAIT due to the support she received as a student. The support she received as a student translated into a desire to create an encouraging environment that helps students feel like they belong and have a purpose.
Through the English Conversation Partners Program, Rodulfa has gained new friends and a new understanding of other countries, including Korea, China and Ethiopia, while improving her ability to communicate with others despite language barriers.
While she strives to meet partners’ expectations of improving their English conversation capabilities, Rodulfa has learned firsthand that students often come away with much more. They tell her they’ve made friends, accessed school resources and tips, plus gained recommendations for living in Calgary, which Rodulfa says makes the encounters extremely satisfying.
“It’s energizing and enlightening, especially when you meet and work with inspiring and like-minded people who appreciate what you do for them and the community,” she says.
A simple way to network
Alyssa Athanasopoulos (RTBN '09, pictured left), SAIT Alumni Engagement Officer, says it’s often the positive experiences and nostalgia that draw graduates back to the familiarity of the SAIT campus.
“It's not a unique way to network, but it’s a good way to get to know people fast,” she says. “When you're volunteering at a booth, you learn a lot about people.”
Establishing connections can help grads expand and learn more about their network while giving back. Involvement at SAIT events like Orientation can help volunteers welcome new students to the SAIT family, provide reassurance, and grow their network simultaneously.
“These students have already chosen SAIT,” she says. “They're just becoming familiar with the campus, maybe experiencing first day jitters, and volunteers can offer reassurance because it can be scary, and alumni have been in their shoes.”
Making lifelong connections
New students are in good hands with alumni volunteers. Jona Way (Travel and Tourism ’77, pictured above) is a seasoned expert when it comes to being of service, spanning the decades since her SAIT academic career in the '70s. During her tenure, she assisted in starting a student club at SAIT, followed by volunteering at many events such as SAIT’s President’s Awards and Centennial celebration in 2016, where she made lifelong connections.
“That networking propelled my career and got me several of the jobs I've had in my lifetime, including one at SAIT,” Way says.
From orientation to convocation, alumni volunteers play a pivotal role in guiding and supporting new students throughout their journey at SAIT. Their engagement fosters enriching academic and social experiences, offering personal growth and valuable networking opportunities for volunteers and students alike.