Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The UAA Traditions Project

The Undergraduate Alumni Association (UAA) is a non-exclusive student organization in which every student is a member because every student will eventually be an alumni. The purpose of UAA is to bring together alumni and students to positively affect our college and community both today and in the future. 

The UAA recently re-invented itself.  We wanted to be a group about bringing all students together and focusing on something that every student could get involved with.  Geneseo is rich with tradition and it was these traditions or experiences that led to UAA’s Traditions Challenge project.  The Traditions Challenge project looks to identify the traditions or experiences that every Geneseo student shares, regardless of their residence hall, club, team or other affiliations.  It is these shared memories that bring students together today – and alumni together tomorrow.

The Traditions Challenge project looks to capture formal and informal Geneseo traditions, revitalize old traditions and create new ones.  This year the UAA identified 11 traditions in honor of the Traditions Challenge inaugural year, 2011:

1) Dance on the IB Risers
2) Play broomball
3) Eat breakfast at GFR (Geneseo Family Restaurant)
4) Attend a Late Knight activity
5) Cheer on the Ice Knights
6) Capture a Geneseo sunset
7) Play BINGO at The Statesman
8) Eat Mias after 2 a.m.
9) Compete in trivia at the Vital
10) Use your meal plan at The Big Tree
11) Visit Kelly on your birthday

The UAA planned to host 3 Traditions Challenge events in the spring of 2011 to kick off our new project.  In February we handed out 500 T-shirts listing all the Traditions Challenges at an Ice Knights Hockey game and had a photographer on duty to take participants' pictures with their Challenge T-Shirt and the Knight mascot.  The photos were then posted on the Undergraduate Alumni Association Facebook page and students were directed to tag themselves in their photos as evidence of Challenge completion.

In March we handed out another 100 Challenge T-shirts at GFR. The UAA also co-hosted with the GFR management the first ever Giant Frittata Race (GFR), a food challenge to devour an 8 egg frittata in 20 minutes. Once again a photographer was on sight to capture all the festivities and the pictures were posted to Facebook. 

In mid-April, the UAA will host its final Challenge Event of the year – Capture a Geneseo sunset.  On April 14th, the UAA will be set up at the Gazebo with the last 100 free Challenge T-shirts to hand out to all students who wish to accept the Challenge. As the sun sets at 7:34 p.m.,  a photographer will be on hand to capture photo proof of students completing the challenge.  Rumor has it that the Knight mascot may also make another appearance and may be handing out candy bars!

The UAA would like to thank the Geneseo Alumni Association for funding this new initiative and for their continuing, unwavering support of UAA programs.

The UAA welcomes any ideas and reflections on traditions that alumni have had in the past, and invites you to take this quick survey and share your thoughts. 

Friday, April 8, 2011

Meet the Alumni Team: Tracy (Young) Gagnier '93

Assistant Director of Alumni Relations
As the Assistant Director of Alumni Relations Tracy Young Gagnier, '93, is a jack of all trades.  She is not only responsible for countless intricate aspects of alumni programming, she is also the advisor of the Undergraduate Alumni Association(UAA), handles class notes submissions for the alumni magazine, The Scene, and is the office bookkeeper/accountant.

Tracy graduated from Geneseo in 1993 and now calls Geneseo her hometown.  She worked in Rochester for a brief period before returning to Geneseo to take a position with the Geneseo Foundation in 1999.  "A job at Geneseo, I thought, perfect no better place to work than the college I love."  Tracy was promoted to Assistant Director of Alumni Relations in 2007.

It is not just Tracy that shares this passion for Geneseo, her husband, George Gagnier, '88 also works at the college in the Athletic Department as the Sports Information Director, and their two children Makenna, 13 and Jack, 9 both attend Geneseo Central School and aspire to one day attend SUNY Geneseo like their parents.  The family loves to attend Geneseo sporting events, especially watching the Geneseo Ice Knights.

Tracy described her favorite thing about Geneseo is that: "As a college and a community we are an ideal location and an ideal size and we have learned to coexist together, I feel that having the college students here really adds value to our community."

While her duties in the office keep her pretty busy, Tracy especially enjoys travelling to regional alumni events.  “Getting out of the office and having the opportunity to re-connect with old friends and make new alumni acquaintances is my favorite part of the job.  You wouldn’t believe how often I hear “You came all the way from Geneseo for this?”, we know it’s important to bring our alumni together in their communities and I love being a part of that.”

Back on campus, Tracy’s responsibilities as advisor of the Under Graduate Alumni Association (UAA) have been especially rewarding.  Tracy describes the UAA as: "A student organization which is not exclusive in any way, every student is member because every student will eventually be an alumni."  The purpose of UAA is to bring together alumni and students to positively affect our college and community, today and for the future. 

The UAA recently re-invented itself.  We wanted to be a group about bringing all students together and to focus on something that every student could get involved with.  Geneseo is rich with tradition and it was these traditions or experiences that led to UAA’s Traditions Challenge Project.  The Traditions Challenge Project looks to identify the traditions or experiences that every Geneseo student shares, regardless of their residence hall, club or team affiliations.  It is these shared memories that not only brings the students together today – but alumni together tomorrow!  Learn more about UAA’s Traditions Challenge in a future blog post.

Tracy also is heavily involved with Reunion 2011 and is the staff liaison to the Reunion Leader/Volunteer committees from the following classes: 1966, 1971, 1976, 1981, 1986, 1991, 1996, 2001 and 2006.  "All of the classes are really stepping up, our goal is for each person in a reunion class to get a personal touch from a classmate, we hope to see a consistent increase in alumni involvement and attendance each year, and increased awareness and excitement about Summer Reunion."

Check back soon for the next Alumni Relations staff profile!

The Alumni Team

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Externship Reflections: Sara Barton '11

Sara Barton, '11, was this year's student coordinator for the New York City Externship. In addition to networking with alumni and visiting NYC companies, Sara helped to guide the 15 other externs through the experience. This guest blog post from Sara details the great experiences she had on this trip.

The New York City externship was an action packed week full of fascinating visits and generous alumni- not your average college spring break! We arrived on Saturday night with more luggage than we could handle on New York City Streets. Kevin Rank ‘04, Jason Capili ’99, and Annalisa Emmaman ‘95 helped us settle in at the Fashion Institute of Technology and then treated us to Famous New York Pizza! Yumm. And it’s not easy to get a reservation for 18 on a Saturday night near Times Square.

The next 5 days were packed with visits and activities. We were lucky enough to explore so many fields through our generous alumni hosts. We visited with a Time Inc. human resources representative hosted by Annalisa Emmaman ‘95. We watched the opening statements of a felony case at the the New York County Criminal Court House (where Law & Order is filmed!), hosted by Jaci Flug ’98 and Andy Zakrocki ’97. Michael Wanderer ’98 took us onto the floor of the New York Stock Exchange for the opening bell (rung by Tyra Banks!). A proud Geneseo parent, Ruby Marchand, hosted a visit for us at the Recording Academy, where I harmonized with one of Madonna’s back-up singers. Chris Munnelly ’86 taught us about fashion merchandising at Aeropostale. On our final visit, long time extern host Ken Rende invited us to Neuberger Berman to learn more about wealth management.

When we were not suited up and traveling in packs, we had the chance to have one-on-one visits with successful alumni in our fields of interest. While I sipped a coffee and she enjoyed a diet coke, I took in the wisdom and experiences of Elisa Fischer, the VP of Matrix U.S. Marketing.

In addition to welcoming us into their companies, alumni added to our trip in different ways. We began our week with a delicious brunch hosted by Carla Warne-Marino ’85.  This was a fun way to start the week and also hear more about raising a family in the city. Jason Capili hosted an alumni panel for us at Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC). Here, we had the chance to ask a panel of alumni about just about anything related to living or working in New York City. It was fun to hear about their college experiences and how they carried over into their current positions. In addition to planned activities, we had other opportunities to see the city. Kevin Rank took us to the best pizza in Brooklyn and we walked the Brooklyn Bridge. Visits to Bryant Park, the New York Library, the Natural History museum and Central Park filled our free time.

The entire week got me very excited for graduation. I really enjoyed the corporate culture of New York. I have visited the city many times, but always as a tourist. Visiting PWC is a lot different than visiting the empire state building! Plus when you wear a suit on New York City streets, everyone thinks you live there, so it's easy to walk through the crowds with a purpose. It’s very different than our Geneseo lifestyle, but something that I feel ready for.

At the end of the week I felt so proud. As student coordinator, I was responsible for establishing meeting times, giving directions, doing head counts on the subway, and getting us into all of the visits. At the beginning of the week I was armed with more knowledge due to the preparation I had been doing for the weeks prior. At this point I was a resource. But over the quick 5 days, my peers seemed to become more independent and proud as young professionals. The externship was an excellent way to experience life after college with generous alumni who wanted to share their own experiences. I made connections that will be very helpful when I move next year, and I look forward to giving back to the program in the future.

For more information on how you can participate in future externships as an alum, visit the externship website or contact Michelle Worden at or 585.245.5506.