Seniors who will be walking away from Keene State College in just a few short weeks are leaving behind a college that has shaped them for their future and given them many opportunities in academics, jobs, on-campus involvement and more.
After receiving so much, some feel giving something back seems like the right thing to do.
Director of External Relations and Interim Director of Alumni Relations Steve Fortier said when students become alumni, he sees it as a “give and take.”
Fortier and his wife are KSC graduates from the class of 1986 and have volunteered within both the city’s and the college’s communities in various ways for the last 32 years.
During the first five years after graduating, Fortier said he and his wife came to events, but didn’t necessarily give back by helping lead the events.
By the early 1990s, they got more involved – his wife became the Alumni President, and together, they became major donors toward building the Alumni Center. However, Fortier said the team in the Alumni Center is not asking people to “give, give, give.”
Fortier added, “Our name is on the wall as major donors, but even that isn’t selfless. We get so much out of our involvement here, great friendships, honing skills that are important in our lives.”
Over the years, some of Fortier’s work has included volunteering, serving as a parent advocate in the University System of New Hampshire, fighting for increased funding, working in government relations, seeing through partnerships all around the Monadnock Region, southeastern Vermont and parts of Massachusetts and bringing the college out to the larger Keene community and vice versa.
Fortier will only be serving as Interim Director of Alumni Relations until another candidate is found, but that does not mean he won’t stop volunteering.
“I’ll continue to be helping out a lot in the Alumni Center because that is what I’ve done for 32 years now,” Fortier said.
Seniors may have spotted Fortier and his Alumni Relations team at the Commencement Fair that took place on March 28 and 29 in the Barnes & Nobles Bookstore.
The team’s role was to simply obtain seniors’ contact information for after graduation and put it in a separate database. This allows seniors to get updates on alumni events and events pertaining to their major or co-curriculars they were involved with on campus once they graduate.
“I think the engagement of younger alums will continue to be strong, you do not have to be 35 and say, ‘Okay I’ve gotten my family started, I got a successful career, now I can give back.’ You don’t have to give back yet, just come back and have fun for a while,” Fortier said.
Fortier said there are a lot of opportunities for alums of all ages to come together and share their common experience at KSC both here on campus and all around the country.
KSC senior and psychology major Jenna Barton was another member of the Alumni Relations team who could be found greeting students as they walked in to get their caps, gowns and hoods.
She oversees funding for the class gift, which this year will be donations toward areas on campus that positively impacted members of the class. Barton is also the manager of the Alumni Center’s Phonathon.
She oversees a staff of about 13 students who raise money for various funds on campus, including Keene State College’s Fund, which goes to all areas on campus.
Barton said she plans on giving back to KSC in various ways once she graduates, whether it’s with her time volunteering or donating.
“I think it’s important to give back because Keene State, I know, personally has offered me so much, whether it’s academic opportunities, scholarship opportunities, job opportunities, involvement opportunities, so I want to be able to give back in any way I can,” Barton said. Barton has been a scholarship recipient for the past two years.
She said she knows it has greatly impacted her ability to study at KSC.
Barton said she hopes students will walk away from KSC feeling really good about the school and wanting to support the future endeavors on campus.
KSC senior and communication major Liana D’Attilio works alongside Barton as a phonathon caller in the Alumni Center.
D’Attilio said she plans on giving back to the college after she graduates because of all that she has taken away.
“Keene State has presented me an abundance of opportunities, whether that be job opportunities [or] with my academics, so I just feel like it’s only right to give back to the community, or give back to the college, rather, just because they’ve supported me so much through just about everything,” D’Attilio said.
D’Attilio will be living in the Keene area next year and said she would be willing to help out in any way she can.
“If opportunities are presented to have alumni reach out and help or volunteer, I’m definitely open to the idea,” she said.
D’Attilio said not to forget the relationships you’ve made when you leave KSC.
“Keep relations,” D’Attilio said. “Alumni relations are so important.”
Seniors who are interested in donating toward the Class of 2018 Gift can visit https://www.givecampus.com/schools/KeeneStateCollege/class-of-2018-senior-gift-fund
Grace Pecci can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org