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Two enduring visions of community impact: The importance of engaging with your alma mater

Schneider associate Vanya gathers with fellow members of the UW-Green Bay alumni board while visiting campus.

Have you ever wondered why college alumni associations exist? Prior to graduation I certainly did. After all, the stigma connected with alumni associations breathes little passion and gives an improper description when it is based on the “automatic membership,” surveys and requests for financial support. However, shortly after graduating from The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, I looked more closely at the mission of my alma mater's alumni association and saw the incredible value that lies in staying engaged with the UW-Green Bay’s Alumni Association. For me, this value is all the more powerful when I consider the community-oriented vision of Schneider and UW-Green Bay. In short, I believe that engagement with one's alma mater directly translates into engagement in building a more vibrant community.

A portrait of Don Schneider at the company's headquarters shows the quote "My goal is to build an organization that lasts forever."

Former CEO Don Schneider envisioned a strong and robust company that would last forever. His vision has certainly stood the test of time and the company his father Al Schneider founded in 1935 remains a leader in the transportation industry. However, Don Schneider’s vision went beyond a solo endeavor and many of the company’s goals have been reached thanks to a strong community connection through employee volunteerism and financial support.

Headshot of Chancellor Weidner

Similarly, UW-Green Bay’s first Chancellor, Ed W. Weidner saw the value of a thriving regional university and its connection to the community. In fact, Chancellor Weidner coined the term “communiversity” that better describes the need for a strong partnership with the community.

In turn, in August of 2016, the two visions of enduring community impact merged for me when I joined Schneider and the UW-Green Bay alumni board. During that time, I was able to research both the UW-Green Bay Alumni Board mission as well as that of Schneider’s community impact vision. It did not take long for my stigma of an alumni association to fade. UW-Green Bay’s Alumni Association Director, Kari Moody offers this insight:

“Staying connected to your alma mater is a win-win for both you and UW-Green Bay. UWGB is a resource to you to assist you in meeting the right people to help you grow in your career. Your Alumni Relations Office wants to know how we can help you or celebrate you … no matter where you are in your career.”
Vanya takes the podium to speak at a UW-Green Bay Alumni Association event.

Further, working at Schneider only strengthened my desire to give back to the community through the UW-Green Bay Alumni Association. This is in large part to the passionate group of co-workers who donate their time to various non-profit causes.

In all, when I read students’ thank-you notes who benefited from a scholarship golf outing, or have the opportunity to present the outstanding student award to a graduating senior, I am reminded that an alumni board serves a much greater role than the surveys, membership benefits and giving. While these steps are important, the ultimate reward rests in positively changing the lives of students who will one day call UW-Green Bay their alma mater and will be the future contributors in our communities.

If you were wondering about the purpose of an alumni association, I hope you took away a few answers here. I chose to join Don Schneider and Chancellor Weidner in their visions.

Interested in making community connections?

Learn more about Schneider’s networking opportunities and see what you could do to give back.

About the author
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Vanya is a sales account representative at Schneider and currently resides in Green Bay, Wis. Vanya is a 2015 graduate of University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. In addition to his advocacy in local government, Vanya serves on the UW-Green Bay alumni board, the Howe Community Resource Center board and is the chair of the Green Bay Current Young Professionals ambassador committee.

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