Saturday, December 10, 2016

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Many Aztecs provide internships and employment for SDSU students and recent graduates. Many Aztecs provide internships and employment for SDSU students and recent graduates.

The Making of an Aztec

SDSU is strengthening its alumni base by offering new ways to stay connected.

The making of an Aztec begins the day a student steps foot on the San Diego State campus. But it doesn’t end at commencement.

A new initiative by the SDSU Alumni Association will give Aztecs the tools to stay connected with their university and each other.

A lifetime process

“Alumni engagement is a lifetime process, and we have seen our alumni embrace the mantra of Aztec for Life,” said Jim Herrick, assistant vice president for alumni engagement. “Now it is our charge to persuade them to confirm their enthusiasm for SDSU by giving; become members; volunteering; and providing mentorships, internships and jobs for their fellow Aztecs.”

With this broader definition of engagement, Herrick said, the university is redefining the meaning of pride and participation for SDSU’s nearly 300,000 living alumni. 

The benefits of community

Jim Sandoval, ’84, exemplifies Aztec engagement. A graduate of SDSU’s School of Public Administration, Sandoval is city manager for Chula Vista and a former planning director for Imperial Beach and Del Mar.

He is a lifetime member of the SDSU Alumni Association and contributes to athletics. “I get a lot of enjoyment from being part of the SDSU community,” he said.

Sandoval also hires SDSU students as interns because “I want to see even more collaboration between academics and community outreach at SDSU. The internships are opportunities for students to have great experiences and get one-on-one career guidance from our staff.”

Finding "lost" Aztecs

Christopher Dempsey, a retired Marine who interned in Sandoval’s office, said the experience clinched his decision to return to SDSU in the fall for a master’s degree in public administration.

In addition to engaging local alumni like Sandoval, SDSU is going further afield to find Aztecs living outside of San Diego who want to reconnect with the university.

University staff will be asking alumni who are leaders and decision-makers in their regions to “reintroduce” their Aztec colleagues and friends to the SDSU community.