Alumni Relations helping students

By Dylan You and Cinthia Velez-Regalado - Staff Reporter

Highline's Alumni Relations is challenging alums to give back to the Highline community.

Alums are being challenged to give $10, volunteer 10 hours, or offer an internship to Highline students just entering the workforce — of which they hope to have 10 within the next 10 months.

The challenge is called the 10 in 10 Challenge, and is aiming to define Alumni Relations — which is fairly new to Highline — as more than just a club.

"We wanted to really have a vision and mission for what this organization is going to look like," said Laura Rosa, Highline's alumni coordinator. "There's sort of a longstanding image that alumni associations are social clubs and we wanted to make sure we're making a clear step away from that right in the beginning."

The idea of being more than just a club garnered much discussion on how to accomplish that goal.

"That led to a lot of conversations with alums both recent and longstanding — and staff that are alums — in figuring out what it is specifically we want to do," Rosa said.

Alumni Relations wants to service the Highline community in three main ways, Rosa said. The three ideas for service are volunteerism, career support, and philanthropy.

"We took those three pieces and we said 'OK, so how do we tie them together?'" Rosa said. "Rather than focusing on one — because the initial idea was for the first year we would just focus on one of those — we said let's boldly take on all three."

The simplest way to give back if by donating as little as $10.

"We have 300,000 plus alums in the world — if we could reach them all and get them to donate just $10 we would have a $3 million endowment," Rosa said. "The beauty of how many students we could directly support with that is overwhelming."

There are two ways to donate. The first way is to text HIGHLINE to 80077 which will charge a one-time donation directly to your cellphone bill.

The second way is to visit the Highline Foundation donation page and selecting "Alumni" from the "Fund" drop-down menu, and donate any amount.

"The goal is to find and reach 300,000 T-Birds and asked them to reach back and recognize someone who help them along the way and in turn reach back and help the next one along," Rosa said.

Another way for alum to give back is through volunteering 10 hours of their time over the next 10 months.

"Our volunteer piece became trying to reach as many alums and encourage them to volunteer 10 hours during these 10 months in their community," Rosa said. "Whether that be here at the college — whether that be there in their own church. … Whatever inspires you go do it then tell us about it so we can use that to inspire other alums.

"So if you're a T-Bird what are you doing in the world to make it better?" Rosa asked.

The last piece of the challenge is to create career support by providing internship opportunities for alumni just entering the workforce.

"An alumni sponsor would be anyone who has their own business or who works for a company that does internships," Rosa said.

The goal is to have 10 internships offered through the 10 in 10 Challenge before the end of the 10 months, she said.

There are two internships already being offered through the 10 in 10 Challenge — both through Highline, Rosa said. One is offered directly through the Alumni Association. The other one is for a Sports Outreach intern.

"We want to be the role model … and offer an internship, and we're trying to encourage others to do the same with the goal of having 10," she said.

"These are two that are directly from the college that we're offering, but I have an accounting firm that's ready to take on an intern," Rosa said.

The internship part of the challenge is very cyclical.

"So we're serving our alums by helping their business — by helping them find an intern —but we're also at the same time mutually serving our recent grads. Which is the beauty of it," she said.

To get involved in the challenge visit:

With the Alumni Association being fairly new, figuring out how to reach alums is a challenge.

"It's very grassroots — so we are doing quite a bit on social media and were working on building our database on membership," Rosa said. "We actually have a membership that's open to anyone that's taken a class at the college — you don't have to be an associates graduate."

If Highline has served you in any way, you are now considered an T-Bird forever, Rosa said. Students are encouraged to sign up for the Alumni Association now as well.

"[Finding alumni] is very grassroots — it's folks telling each other and sharing it on their social media pages. … Its faculty and staff — faculty and staff that are alums, that at some point attended here are our ground zero people in this," she said. "So we are encouraging anyone that's even taken a class to join."

Joining the Alumni Association is free, and members receive a membership card, discounts on athletic events, newsletters and other benefits.

In December alumni will have another chance to give back during Highline's annual alumni casino night reception.

Alumni will gamble with fellow alums, and at the end of the night winners will put their winnings into a scholarship endowment to help current students.

"We are creating scholarship funds so those that are of the highest winners of the night can dedicate their winnings toward specific scholarship funds," Rosa said.

Alumni and students are welcome to attend. The event is on Dec. 15 from 6-8 p.m. Tickets will be available on Highline's website in the events section soon.

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