Alumnus Ethan Wade graduated in 2015 with a BA (Hons) in Drama and Theatre Studies and Journalism. Ethan has recently joined the University of Chester Alumni Association and in this week’s blog, he tells us more about his first Annual Reunion experience…
“On a typical British summer day, as the torrential rain poured down, I made my journey over to the University of Chester’s Parkgate Road Campus. I made this journey for the first time five years ago to begin my university experience; then three years later, I made the same journey as a newly elected representative of Chester Students’ Union. But this time I felt the journey had come full circle as I approached the campus, ready to become a member of the University of Chester Alumni Association (UCAA).
“The day began with the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the UCAA – a chance for alumni to voice ideas, concerns and suggest direction for the 2017/18 academic year. Alumni contributions were noted and the group discussed how they are being used towards sustainable improvement which will have a positive impact on current students at the University. The main point put across was, how we as Alumni, get others involved and contributing. With so many rules and regulations surrounding data protection, it can be confusing, but we want to show all alumni of the University of Chester, and the then Chester College, the amazing opportunities we have to support our University and its students in their successes and achievements.
“Having got to know some of the committee, and of course the Alumni Team – Fiona, Helena and Hayley – I felt confident as the Annual General Meeting of the UCAA commenced. After talking to other members and alumni, I knew that being part of the committee would be important for me. I’m so happy that I will be able to continue to have a connection with the institution which has given me so much over the years, in terms of academic improvement, extra-curricular activities and personal growth.
“I am excited to be able to bring a fresh perspective and new ideas, and I am thrilled that my proposal for a sponsorship of the University’s Men’s Basketball Team has been approved. Members of the Basketball Team attended the meeting in their kit (which is soon to receive an upgrade thanks to the UCAA’s sponsorship). Niel Gillard and Coach Chris Wilson explained how invaluable the UCAA sponsorship is and how the money will be used – new kits, transport costs and live streaming technology. The Basketball Team also hope to be able to extend the Basketball Programme to junior level.
“Later in the afternoon, Stan France (who is somewhat of a legend to many alumni), took some alumni on a guided tour round the university and spoke about how the campus has changed since they left. Reunion was the perfect opportunity to reminisce, remember tales of mischief and re-live glory days, as well as catch up with old classmates.
“As the evening began, more alumni joined us and we sat down for the formal dinner. We bowed our heads with alumnus Reverend Geddes, who also led the Chapel Service earlier that day. The University’s Catering Team supplied a delicious three course meal as the excitement built for the sell-out raffle! It was fantastic to see so many people give so generously for raffle tickets and supporting the University. As we finished our meals, the current Students’ Union President, Cherelle Mitchell, who had been networking at the event, stood to make her speech. Filled with words of elation, empathy of history and hope for the future, she finished to rapturous applause and to one member’s remark: “That was the best speech we’ve had in 20 years!”
“It was an incredible day for myself and other alumni to enjoy and reflect, but now I look forward to what the future holds for myself and the UCAA this coming year. One of our projects includes commemorating the centenary of the end of World War One. An aspect of this project is creating a textile poppy for each alumnus who died in the War who is remembered on the plaque in the University Chapel. If you would like to get involved, please get in touch.”
If you are interested in getting involved with any of our projects, or joining the UCAA, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01244 511091.