While a student at Gettysburg College, I was incredibly active in a small but mighty organization called the Student Alumni Association. It was a group I joined with my freshman year friends because a sister had recommended it to us. In SAA, we volunteered throughout Homecoming, the Twilight Walk, Founders Day, Get Acquainted Day, Relay for Life and many other campus events. We made gifts once a semester for Heritage alums – alumni who were 50 or more years graduated – and would deliver them to those in the area. We attended networking events and sought to better connect students with alumni in a variety of ways. I had no idea that this club would bring me to BOLD.
Upon my return from abroad in the spring of my junior year, I was asked to be the President of SAA. This meant several things, but most exciting to me, it meant that I would be able to sit in on the Alumni Board of Directors and BOLD Council meetings. Here, I was able to meet prominent alumni in the Gettysburg community who were dedicating a portion of their already busy lives to develop programs for the greater alumni community. At these meetings, all I had to do was present a short update on SAA, but for each of the three semesters I had this responsibility I was greeted with warmth and well wishes. It was the members’ welcoming and grateful attitudes that made me want to be a part of the BOLD Council post-graduation. I was one of the lucky few who got to see inspired Gettysburg alumni working so hard to keep others connected and engaged. It went far beyond getting donations from alumni – it was about keeping Gettysburg as a home for graduates. I made it my goal to become a part of BOLD, and luckily I was chosen to join a great group of individuals.
At the BOLD Council meetings – held around Homecoming and Get Acquainted Day weekends – we are able to discuss upcoming campaigns, events, and projects. We discuss ways in which we can keep alumni who are 10 years or fewer graduated from Gettysburg interested in the happenings on campus. We brainstorm new methods for marketing ourselves as well as new ideas for how we can better serve the greater Gettysburg community. Each of us comes from a different place, but we are able to come together on these weekends and catch up on life while working towards a common goal. It is our job to represent the BOLD community’s interests as we develop our ideas, programs, events, and so on. It is also our responsibility to make sure that the greater community knows what is current at the College. Engagement is crucial for us, and I am proud to be a person who my friends can contact if they have questions about what is new with Gettysburg.
Since joining the BOLD Council back in June, I have already had the opportunity to join the Career Committee, as well as the Nominations Committee. On the BOLD Council, it is not about what you do or who you know, it is about how much you care about our Alma Mater. Gettysburg College helped me grow extensively in my character. The College gave me the tools I needed to succeed post-grad. Without Gettysburg College, I would not have a second home to return to when I need a dose of college life, and I would not have had the opportunity to connect with so many successful leaders and genuinely passionate people. I am proud to serve on the BOLD Council, where my continued love of Gettysburg can be turned into new ideas for the College and the BOLD Community.
by Shannon Callahan