On any given Sunday following Homecoming festivities, you can find HBCU alumni gathering one last time before heading back to reality at brunch! As with any family gathering, where there is time to fellowship, a good kiki, there's always a healthy ounce of real, relevant, discussion, to make sure things are in order...like that one family member who grabs your attention to discuss health, insurance, and real life seriousness for a moment, we want to take the time to direct you towards taking care of our second homes, our second families, our beloved HBCU's.
Allow us to be THAT family member for a moment, and encourage you to get serious with your HBCU family members, and make sure they are all members of the Alumni Association!
Below, we are happy to share Virginia State University Alumni Association's (VSUAA) National Corresponding Secretary Tiffany Gullins' responses to our alumni association questionnaire.
Explain the role of your alumni association, and how it supports your alma mater?
Organized in 1889 and incorporated in 1949, the Association has had a long and proud history of connecting alumni back to Virginia State University and to each other, and sharing its influence and resources in support of the University’s mission. As a collective expression of gratitude to VSU we form ourselves into this association so that our work and dedication will strengthen and support our Alma Mater ensuring that it remains a viable institution and that memories of our school life will be kept alive. With a membership roster of over 1,000 members and over 50 active chapters located across the country, the Virginia State Alumni Association continues to be a committed partner to the University. The Association has given its support to the University in varying ways, including providing money for scholarships, recruiting students to the University, and supporting the University’s music and athletics programs.
Why is it important for alumni to join alumni associations, and what steps should they take to
join your alumni association? Do you provide opportunities for others who did not graduate from your HBCU to join your alumni association? If so, explain how that works. If not, share other ways they can support your alma mater.
“A student for a short time, an alum for a lifetime.” As a younger alumna with under 10 years of having graduated, I realized how imperative it was for me to maintain my relationship with my alma mater sooner than later. For me personally, I realized how can I have an opinion if I do nothing to help. As younger alum, we are sometimes stuck in the notion that our universities respective alumni association are solely for big donors, notable alumni, and seasoned alumni. I found that to be very untrue when I became a member of VSUAA (Chesterfield Chapter). The Virginia State Alumni Association has a very well-maintained website that includes all information needed for membership. We are happy to welcome graduates as well as membership for those who did not attend Virginia State University but wish to obtain membership. The Virginia State Alumni Association offers three types of membership:
• Annual Membership - $30.00
Annual membership is designated for those individuals who attended Virginia State, or any of its previous designations.
• Associate Membership - $30.00
Associate membership is designated for those individuals who did not attend Virginia State, or any of its previous designations, but have an interest in advancing the goals of the University through the Alumni Association.
• Edward A. Ragland Life Membership - $750.00**
Life Membership is conferred to those individuals who meet the qualifications in one of the above membership designations, have submit an application, and have paid the $750.00 fee for Life Membership
How has your alumni association overcome challenges presented by COVID-19?
Of course, just like many others our greatest challenge no longer having the capability to gather in the manner we are accustomed to. Accommodating the many challenges in a very technical world for our seasoned alumni has in a way created a bridging of the gap with younger alumni. The younger alumni members have stepped in to help teach and come up with creative ways for the Association to stay connected. Virginia State was fortunate to have a successful virtual homecoming with the assistance of members from the Association. The activities included a Virtual Paint ‘N Sip, a Virtual Trojan 5K, a virtual Half Time Show and closing with a virtual day party with music provided by VSU Alumnus DJ Darryl Krush. Also, to assist with the funding lost from annual homecoming activities, the Office of Institutional Advancement held the Rogers Stadium Virtual Sell Out. The Rogers Stadium Virtual Sell Out provides Virginia State alumni and fans the opportunity to support our students from anywhere in the world during this time by repurposing in-person homecoming funds and support tuition assistance by making a gift of $25 or more. Nothing replaces in-person Virginia State energy but we are working through these tough times in true Trojan spirit.
Please describe the significance of your role within your alumni association and what excites you about the position.
I am Tiffany Gullins, a 2014 and 2020 graduate from Virginia State University. I currently serve as the National Corresponding Secretary for VSUAA, as well as the Communications Chair for my respective local chapter Chesterfield (CCVSUAA). I truly enjoy being an active young Trojan in a space where young voices are needed. We are the future of the Association and it is our duty to be a voice for our generation. I have enjoyed creating initiatives and coming up with ideas to help bridge the age gap in the Association. I also enjoy encouraging the VSU Pre Alumni Association to spend time with us whether it is through serving the community or activities on campus.
Share your pride for your HBCU!
My BELOVED VSU, thank you for choosing me those many years ago. Thank you for holding me close, molding me, guiding me, thank you for creating my village. Thank you for giving me the Black space I needed to grow and transform into the proud Virginia State alumna that I AM today. My Heaven on Earth, I am so grateful to have been a student here. I would not have it any other way, and if I could go back knowing what I know now, it would always and forever be ORANGE AND BLUE.
Hail State, Hail State! HAIL! HAIL! HAIL!