Would you like to play an active role in our alumni community? There are plenty of ways for you to take part, whether it’s contributing to our alumni magazine The Cestrian, coming back to share your experiences with current students, or even volunteering at any of our upcoming events.
Here in the Alumni and Development Office, we are always delighted to welcome back alumni who would like to give back to the University in some way, as well as keep in touch with old friends.
We had a quick chat with one of our 1986 alumnas, Sharon Forsdyke (pictured right). Sharon studied the Combined Studies course, graduating in English Literature and Music. Today she has shared with us some of her favourite memories from her time at the former Chester College and told us how she has got involved with alumni activities here at the University.
Tell us about some of your favourite memories from your time at the former Chester College…
“My favourite memories are living in digs and juggling meals, housework, studies and socialising. Clubbing together with friends to cook a Sunday roast, trips to Diner’s Den or Spud-U-Like. Poring over English texts in the library, munching rounds of toast and sipping coffee whilst trying to work out keyboard harmony. Dipping into the College fountain after exams, Deva Mile and Rag Day Parade antics.”
Since graduating, you have remained an active member of the alumni community as a Year Note Secretary – could you tell us more about that?
“As Year Note Secretary I am responsible for relaying information between my year group and the institution. I also helped to organise the reunion for 1986 leavers in 2016, which over 30 alumni attended. I collate the year notes for The Cestrian with occasional updates from my peers.”
You are also a member of the UCAA – what does this involve?
“I attend the committee meetings where we discuss how to maintain our links with the University, and help organise fundraising for projects like the Alumni Window. I have also represented the committee in presenting a cheque to a student towards funding for a project.”
What other activities and events have you taken part in or helped with?
“I helped edit the book about the University quilt in 2014; made a poppy for the University Christmas tree that was displayed in the Cathedral; I was part of the chapel project team producing the Altar cloth and communion sets and I contributed a poem to the Founders Day booklet celebrating the 175th anniversary at the cathedral.
“I was privileged to be invited to write a poem about the chapel project to read out at the Alumni Donor reception in June 2016. I also usher at the fantastic graduation ceremonies.
“I frequently attend many events at the University during Diversity Week, the Literature Festival and other special events, which have helped to maintain my link with the institution.”
Do you have any advice for your fellow alumni who would like to get involved with the University?
“It is much easier now than it was 30 years ago to keep in contact with your University. Remember why you chose to study here – what you loved and also found challenging about your time here, as both have helped to shape your experience. What will you miss most? When I go back, I am still struck by its familiarity despite the expansion, and I am always filled with nostalgia. But bricks and mortar don’t mean anything without the friends you shared your time with. The alumni community is about both the people and the experiences. “If you want to maintain links with the University, become a member of the Alumni committee and help us to continue to shape future reunions and strengthen links with current students. Become an usher for the day at graduation and watch the ceremony from another perspective (one seasoned Usher told me he gets a lump in his throat every time the students come through the West Door of the Cathedral). For me it is a wave of collective pride for a campus with wonderful pastoral care nestled in a beautiful city.
“You can also keep in touch on Facebook and Twitter – let’s keep the Chester Spirit going!”
If anything Sharon mentioned has inspired you, we would love to hear from you! Or if you would like to contribute to a feature blog post, tell us your ideas. You can get in touch with us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.