An SAA Member’s First Hand Experience…
Before I arrived at UMass Amherst, I knew I wanted to join an organization that incorporated aspects of service, leadership and community building. I mentioned this to my resident assistant before the activities fair, and she told me I had to join this club she was involved with. Now that I have been apart of the club for a few months, I have found that it was exactly what I was looking for coming to UMass.
Student Alumni Association has given me the opportunity to be involved in many activities on campus, whether it be as a leader or a volunteer. In high school, I was involved in many different organizations. I did not realize how important that sense of community was for my well-being until I got to college and felt extremely out of place. The first few months was almost an out-of-body experience because I did not feel like I was old enough to belong on a college campus. Being super involved back home was something I took pride in and it allowed me to develop skills that I wouldn’t have otherwise obtained in a classroom setting. When I leave my house at home, I know someone everywhere I go and with that comes a sense of security, which I can now say was the feeling I was lacking coming to college. Being able to converse with different people and even just see familiar faces is important, and the Student Alumni Association has made a huge difference in my experience at UMass Amherst. Being able to find that sense of belonging and security on such a large campus was something I knew I was not going to find right away, and I am so grateful I took my resident assistant’s advice last semester and joined SAA.
In my first semester here, I was able to volunteer to table for different events and help set up for the Multicolor Mile and fall Student Alumni Networking Night. I had a lot of fun meeting new people and becoming more involved in events. I liked being able to meet all the different students involved in the club at events, and couldn’t believe all of the opportunities that I was able to take advantage of. For example, I sat down with Mr. Jackson Katz this past October. Talking to him about his time at UMass and his work was fascinating and I was thrilled to be able to ask him questions directly, as I met him with only three other students. Later on in the semester, I was able to complete the ambassador training, and am thrilled to become more involved in alumni-based events this semester. Through SAA, I have been able to develop a new community here at UMass, which has made it feel more like home.
This semester I was able to participate in I Love UMass Day, which allowed me to interact with other students that I may not have otherwise had a conversation with. I also learned a lot about the institution and its history. Just last month I attended CASE ASAP, which was a phenomenal experience. I was able to connect with other students in the club on a more personal level and got to learn a lot about other Student Alumni groups from different universities in New England. I was not expecting the conference to be as much fun as it was, and I was able to come back with many new ideas for our SAA group here at UMass.
I am looking forward to events coming up this semester like Commencement Ball and also to the coming three years. I was recently elected the Vice President of the Training and Development Branch for the 2019-2020 school year. I cannot wait to take on this role and be able to help others become a part of this community while partaking in fun events and developing their professional skills. I have a lot to learn, but am so excited to do so.
Thank you SAA, for making UMass feel more like home for me and so many others!
McKenna Meagher ‘22