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Alumni in Action: The SAS Alumni Association “Over the Years” – Featuring Cindy Zomchek

With an alumni community of more than 73,000 (and growing!), Semester at Sea’s Alumni Association has seen growth and changes throughout the years, as different members have helped shape the course of the association over time. A vast network across the globe, the SAS Alumni Association offers all program alumni – from students, to faculty and staff, to Lifelong Learners, and more – the chance to continue to connect, engage, and partner with SAS through alumni events and chapters, reunions, philanthropic activities, professional networking, regional events, and more. 

Some members of the association, such as Cindy Zomchek, the Admissions and University Relations Assistant for ISE, have seen the work of the Alumni Association evolve over the years and recognize all of the great work the association has done to help connect the post-voyage SAS community. Cindy, who has sailed ten times with Semester at Sea, serving in roles varying from Resident Director and Academic Success Coordinator to Dean of Student Life and Advancement/Lifelong Learner Coordinator, and who has been a part of the current version of the association since its start in the early 2000s, knows the evolving association community quite well. “The Alumni Association really began with many people after their voyages excited to keep those connections, and it was supported by the Advancement team that we gather in a structured way to connect and also engage with the full SAS alumni network. We would gather for alumni councils, complete projects together, and also have large reunions on the ship most years,” Cindy said. “It was so exciting to work together on SAS projects, and then be able to see everyone each year and share our memories together on the ship.” 

Cindy at SAS/CSU Day event in March

Over the years, the Alumni Association continued to grow, with more councils, such as the Emeritus Council, the Parents Council, and the Chapter Representatives Council, adding to the roster. In time, the active association membership exploded, with large subgroups, chapters, and committees forming and doing work all across the organization. Eventually, the network grew widely, with a leadership team of 150 active volunteers over seven councils, and events included annual council-wide meetings as well as regular subgroup meetings, council meetings, gatherings from around 30 alumni chapters, and a wide range of events across the many constituents.  

While the most recent iteration of the alumni association accomplishes amazing work together – from engaging with SAS alumni to helping to promote the program in many ways – one of the primary goals of the new structure will be an overall effort for simplification. “I have so much faith and confidence in our current leadership, and I know one of our main goals will be to simplify the organization and get it back to its initial roots,” Cindy said. “First, our most important goal will be to help promote alumni engagement, and I think the changes in the alumni association will be about helping us return to that focus.”

In working together as an association to help grow and promote Semester at Sea alumni engagement, SAS connections and community extend from our voyages into our post-voyage lives, allowing the opportunity for us to connect with others from other voyages, other demographics, and other geographic locations. The SAS Alumni Association  – in its past, present, and future forms – exists as a space for us to help grow engagement with every new addition to the alumni group, all the while building connections. “I have countless friendships from the alumni association,” Cindy said. “I have so much gratitude for the association and all it has done over the years, and I am so excited to see the new structure of the alumni association soon.”

Topics
  • Alumni

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