Sheltered under the pavilion early on Sept. 10 for Homecoming weekend, the Castleton University Alumni Association gathered to discuss important events and updates beside their own homecoming stand.
While the meeting was not attended by all members and was interrupted by the assemblage of homecoming activities, there was no doubt that the conference highlighted the needs of the Castleton community — from the town, to the students, to future students and alumni.
The bulk of the meeting centred on an evaluation of past events and how this analysis could improve future events. The detail-oriented and thorough meeting undoubtedly displayed the association’s care and love towards the CU community.
Notably, the meeting discussed the recent induction of freshmen to the university and the association’s effort to forge connections with the students by handing out lanyards outside Huden.
“The kids were so appreciative,” member Cecelia Hunt said. “Many students came up and thanked us because it was such a meaningful experience.”
In addition to providing lanyards, the Alumni Association handed out candles for the annual candle lighting ceremony for new students — an event meant to reinforce a connection that begins at orientation and continues throughout life.
Establishing connections with students from their first steps into Castleton University is only the beginning, as the Association will continue to play a role in their lives even after graduation. As noted during the meeting, class reunions play a significant role in the continued relationship between Castleton and alumni.
Another discussion centred on the recent 50th reunion for the graduating classes of 70’, 71’ and 72’ and reinforced the association’s concern with alumni participation in Castleton life. Suggestions to plan reunions as soundings events were mentioned as a way to emphasise the continued connection between students and alumni.
“During a soundings event when there’s already hundreds of people (here), it’s a very community-orientated space,” Alumni Association Secretary Jessica Duncan said.
Association President Toni Lobdell added to the statement saying that alumni “would rather be here when the students are here.”
Event organization by the association further cements the relationship with the town of Castleton, particularly in the areas of celebration and commerce.
It was also decided during the meeting to switch financial institutions to Heritage Family Credit Union in part to thank the organization and for the added convenience the bank offers.
“(It was) done for convenience as well as the fact that the Heritage Family Credit Union does a lot for Castleton University,” Lobdell said.
On a more celebratory note, the meeting also brought up discussion of the upcoming Halloween celebrations. Rutland’s Halloween parade, the longest running Halloween parade in the United States, will feature a float by the Alumni Association, as per tradition in past years.
Carrie Savage, Director of Development and Alumni Affairs, acknowledged the commitment and love the association has for both Castleton and the students, highlighting the importance of “seeing (everyone) here, bright and early, working.”
Though the recent merger will impact the Castleton University community, the association will remain focused on the needs of the university. Students who graduate under Vermont State University will always be welcome in the Castleton University Alumni Association, who are always excited to grow their family.
“From my understanding, Castleton Alumni will always be Castleton Alumni,” Duncan said.