Student Alumni Association lays the groundwork for dedicated graduates
As president of the Student Alumni Association in 2001-02, Ricardo Lopez gained a lifelong appreciation for the difference alumni make on campus.
“I saw first-hand the positive impact alumni can have on students.”
“I saw firsthand the positive impact alumni can have on students,” he says. “Being a member of the SAA was one of the best experiences of my life.”
Now a competitive strategy analyst at Raytheon, Lopez ’02, ’07 makes giving back to UT Arlington a priority. Not only is he a regular donor, he also serves on the Alumni Association national board of directors, is a guest lecturer for the Leadership Center, and speaks at campus events throughout the year.
In other words, he’s fulfilling the SAA’s goal of nurturing successful graduates with a strong loyalty to their alma mater.
Many of today’s students show the same promise.
Not every student can balance classes and extracurricular activities while organizing Oozeball, one of UT Arlington’s biggest and most popular traditions, but Karen Blair is managing just fine. The SAA president, a senior double major in public relations and advertising, is committed to doing whatever she can to keep the University strong.
“As a legacy student, I have a lot of spirit and pride in my school,” says Blair, whose mother, father, and brother all graduated from UT Arlington. “The Student Alumni Association is a great way to get involved.”
Established in 1989, the SAA imposed membership limits until 2001, when the group began including any student interested in joining. Today it’s the largest student organization on campus, with more than 2,000 members.
The group’s mission is to assist students in their journey to graduation through close work with the Alumni Association. Along the way, members develop leadership skills, network with alumni, make friends, and become regulars at campus events. The Maverick Marauders function as the SAA’s governing body, and membership is selective.
“We are looking for students who have a strong desire to play an instrumental role in helping UT Arlington achieve its goals while supporting the Alumni Association,” says SAA adviser Melissa Wells, the association’s assistant director for constituent groups and scholarships. “They are the backbone for getting our mission accomplished.”
Blair believed that becoming a Maverick Marauder would help her make a difference on campus. It has done that and more.
“I plan on joining the Alumni Association as soon as I graduate,” she says. “I have seen the benefits of being a member and what good the Alumni Association does for UT Arlington. I want to make sure I’m helping the University grow.”