Written by Carolyn Fairbanks; Media by Kat Kelley.
Sunday night, Greenville College seniors gathered as a community for free coffee and advice. The event was part of the Almost Alumni program, an outreach program of the Offices of Alumni and Advancement. Heather Fairbanks, Advancement Communications and Events Coordinator, said the program is to “help current seniors bridge the gap between being a GC student and living in the ‘real world’ as alumni.”
Vice President for Advancement, Walter Fenton, told the gathered seniors that “Greenville College alumni are pulling for you. They ask about you, they are praying for you, and they are excited for you.” He reported that the Alumni Board has donated money specifically to the Almost Alumni program. The additional gifts from GC alumni are just one way they want to welcome seniors into their ranks and to do what they can to help them transition from seniors to alumni. Fenton also reminisced on his time at Greenville. He confessed that the hardest transition for him after graduation was leaving the social support network of the Greenville College community.
Acting President Randy Bergen then spoke to the seniors. He said one of his favorite things about graduation is to “feel the potential of the people as they cross the stage.” He encouraged seniors to avoid “coasting” through their last semester, as hard as it may be. He also advised students to take advantage of the resources Greenville provides, including Patrick Miller, the Associate Dean for Leadership and Life Calling. Miller connects students to alumni in the field they’re interested in.
Senior Meagan Gunn, who was enjoying herself with friends at the event, said she has already visited Patrick Miller’s office. She explained her anxiety about not knowing what was next after graduation and how connecting with Miller was “really helpful.”
Fairbanks explains that because “the Alumni Association has taken the mission to reach out to seniors quite seriously,” there will be more Almost Alumni events this semester, as well as some gifts for the seniors. In March, there will be a “Life After College Panel Discussion, Alumni Panel Discussion,” which will be a panel of young alumni sharing stories about the challenges and joys of life immediately after graduating. There will be a dinner provided and an open time to ask questions about post-graduation plans. It is clear that seniors are not alone in this transitional time in their lives as the Greenville community loves and supports them through these intimidating months.