by A. Kathryn Parker ’06
I’ve heard every excuse in the book for not joining the Alumni Association. Most often, these excuses are flimsy at best. Here are the three excuses I hear too often, and why they’re wrong.
- “I don’t think I participated in SSDP enough as a student to be in the Alumni Association.”
Did you do anything with the SSDP chapter at your school? If you can answer “yes” to that question, you qualify to join the Alumni Association. It’s that easy. It doesn’t matter if you only attended one meeting or event, or if you only went to support a friend. If you participated in SSDP as a student in some way, you qualify to join the Alumni Association (as long as you are a member of the Sensible Society).
I won’t lie, when I was a student, the only reason I gave SSDP any thought is because my boyfriend was the chapter’s co-founder. I was what I’d call an SSDP girlfriend. Sure, I went to some chapter events, but I was hesitant to do much with our SSDP chapter. My involvement was solely to support my boyfriend. I was skeptical of the implications of my involvement with the chapter. I was more actively involved in Student Media, the LGBT campus group, the Student Global AIDS campaign, and the Women’s Center while in school. I honestly didn’t do much for SSDP or engage in the organization until after I’d graduated.
So stop making excuses about how you only went to one SSDP event in school. Get involved as an alum, and it won’t matter. I was simply a supportive girlfriend attending the occasional SSDP event. I didn’t attend a conference until I was an alumna. But I realized the importance of SSDP’s work and the network the organization generates and became an alumni leader. Never has an SSDPer given me a hard time because I didn’t contribute much to my chapter while in school.
If you attended an event as a student — even if it was just one event — and you care about the SSDP network, join the Alumni Association! We’re looking for members like you!
- “I don’t have the time.”
The amount of commitment required by the Alumni Association is quite small. It’d obviously be great if we all had the time to do everything on the list of ways to stay engaged, but even I can’t do all that, and I devote a lot of time to SSDP and the Alumni Association. We know your time is precious. That’s why we make it easy to stay involved.
Simply sending an email to an elected official about policy change meets the necessary engagement requirements. So does attending any SSDP event, uploading photos to SSDP’s Google photo archives, inviting your friends to SSDP events, and recruiting just one member to the Alumni Association.
Most of those activities could be done in little to no time, and very well may be things you’re already doing. That’s not so much to do to be a part of the official alumni network, giving you access to a quarterly newsletter and exclusive discounts to SSDP events.
- “I’m not a member of the Sensible Society.”
This is the flimsiest excuse I hear because you have full power to fix this. Though I encourage you to give as much as you can, alumni can join the Sensible Society for as little as $1 per month. Seriously. $1. If you’re just getting on your feet after graduation and can’t afford to spare a single dollar, or if you have a special circumstance and don’t have a debit or credit card, reach out to your fellow alumni or your community members and find someone to sponsor you. If you recruit a new Sensible Society membership as your sponsor (and they note it in the “Why did you donate today?” field), that will satisfy the Sensible Society requirement for your Alumni Association membership. If you can’t afford a Sensible Society membership, I bet you know someone who can — and who would be happy to support both you and SSDP.
I definitely want to stop hearing this excuse. It’s simply annoying and lazy. Sign up for the Sensible Society and join the Alumni Association already.
A. Kathryn Parker ’06 is an alumna from North Carolina State University. She now resides in Oakland and is the President of the Pacific Region Alumni Association. At SSDP2016, the award SSDP gives each year to an alum who has demonstrated outstanding service to the organization was renamed the “A. Kathryn Parker Outstanding Alumnus in Service to SSDP Award” in recognition of her ongoing dedication and service to SSDP. She is also Vice Chair of the Oakland Cannabis Regulatory Commission.