In conjunction with Homecoming weekend, UC Merced has announced the formation of the first-ever board of directors for its Alumni Association.
Christopher Abrescy (’09), Uday Bali (’08), Josh Bolin (’07), Jason Castillo (’09), Efferman Ezell (’09), Sam Fong (’09), Jose Godinez (’11), James Kirby (’10), Jacqueline Miramontes (’10), Elizabeth Perkins (’11) and Yaasha Sabba (’09) will represent their fellow alumni as the association moves into a new phase.
“UC Merced now has more than 1,200 alumni,” said Heather Buckner, director of alumni affairs. “This group will continue to grow by the hundreds and soon by more than a thousand every year. It’s important to establish a sound structure, with a board to advocate for the entire alumni base, as we move into a new phase.”
Buckner said the applications for the board were universally impressive. With the group now chosen, the Alumni Association board will aim to establish regional alumni chapters, first in California and then nationwide and worldwide.
“Our board will define what constitutes a chapter and the requirements necessary to establish one, such as number of alumni in the area,” she said. “At their very first meeting they will define the course of the alumni association and its expected growth around the state, country and world.”
She also noted that the board will be able to provide valuable feedback for her office as new alumni activities and initiatives come up in the future.
The new board members say they feel glad for a chance to serve their alma mater.
“UC Merced offered me several opportunities that I'm not sure I would have taken advantage of had I attended a different university,” Miramontes said. “Now, as an alumna, I feel it is my responsibility to give back to the campus that gave me so many valuable experiences.”
Added Godinez, “I devoted a lot of time to UC Merced in my last two years and became so attached I felt that I had to take up any opportunities that would allow me to stay involved.”
The enthusiasm for making a difference that motivated these alumni’s involvement during their college years and helped qualify them for service continues to drive their goals for the alumni board.
“We will continue to show current students that their time at UC Merced does not end upon graduation,” Sabba said. “In addition, we will use this organization to provide current alumni with new tools and resources that will help them improve their skills, capabilities, and lives. We will further prove to future students how UC Merced is not your ordinary university; on top of getting a private education at a public rate, they will also be entering into a huge family that will continue to support them throughout their lifetimes.”
They’re also aware of the unique opportunity of this moment, laying the foundation for an alumni organization that will endure for generations.
“I really feel that now is the time to bring in new things that haven't been tried before to reach the best outcome for UC Merced,” Perkins said.