Annual Hawkfest event kicks off new school year

Posted on Aug 24, 2015 in Campus News and News

Hawkfest 2015
More than 1,000 students eager to find their niche on campus flocked to Saturday’s Hawkfest to learn more about KU student organizations. KU has more than 600 registered student groups, and nearly 150 of those participated in the event, which was a prelude to Traditions Night in Memorial Stadium.

Junior Jack Bruntzel of the KU Boxing Club gave a boxing demonstration to help pique the interest of his fellows Jayhawks. “So far at our booth, we’ve been averaging a person a minute. We were here last year. We’re having a far better turnout this year, doing these demonstrations, creating a hype has helped people see what we do,” said Bruntzel.

Across the bustling parking lot,  Eric Oduniyi, a sophomore member of the National Society of Black Engineers, talked with many interested students. “Hawkfest is really important for groups like ours to try and attract first-year students because after I graduate, I want to make sure there are students behind me to keep it going. It’s all about making sure everyone’s learning and inheriting the necessary information to be successful in their own fields,” said Oduniyi.

Hawkfest attendees also enjoyed free food, entertainment by the Spirit Squad and the opportunity to meet head football coach David Beaty and his staff. The event, jointly sponsored by Student Alumni Association, the Student Involvement and Leadership Center (SILC) and the Office of First-Year Experience, was part of Hawk Week, which runs through Sunday, August 30.

See more pictures from this year’s Hawkfest event on Flickr.

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Sport management professionals share tips with students

Posted on Apr 6, 2015 in Campus News and News

Student Alumni Association members and sports management students attended Networking Night on March 31, 2015, to learn from Jayhawks working in the world of sports. Ten alumni came back to their alma mater to give advice to the students about how to gain leadership qualities while in college, how to separate yourself from others trying to break into the field and how to balance work life with family life. Read more here.
SAA Networking Night, March 31, 2015

At last week’s Networking Night, hosted by the Student Alumni Association, students interested in the sport management field learned from ten alumni currently working in the industry.

After three rounds of networking in small groups with nearly 60 students, the panelists reconvened for a general Q&A session.

Is it hard to balance work with family life in sports?

Short answer: yes. The panelists agreed that working in the world of sports marketing and management is a lifestyle. “You have to organize your priorities and be willing to take breaks and time off in order to be successful,” Jennifer Allee said.

What’s the biggest piece of advice you have for us to separate ourselves from others? What are you looking for on paper or in person that helps us stand out?

Experience is important, but so is character and personality. Refine your communication style and make eye contact. Hand-written thank you notes are still important! People don’t write them enough anymore.

Anything you can do to show you’re a self-starter or that you take initiative helps—we want to know we can give you a task and you can go get it done.

What type of leadership qualities do we need to be successful, and how can a college student gain those qualities?

You need to be a team player; you’re only as good as the people around you. You need to be able to make a decision, especially now when things move so fast. Have an element of confidence—but don’t cross the line.

“In my office, it’s team leadership. Your success is my success; my success is your success,” said Allee. Flexibility and being able to adapt to the situation is extremely important.

Students can improve these skills through leadership positions in campus activities, internships, even group projects in class will help you prepare.

How do I go after an internship where I have no connections?

Start early! There’s nothing wrong with cold-calling someone you’re not connected to, as long as you do it the right way. Handwritten notes will stand out here, too. You can also volunteer for an event the company is holding to make connections.

Use LinkedIn to research the company and and your mutual connections. Chris Galle shared that when he was looking for an internship, he found that one of his LinkedIn connections was connected to someone at the company, and even though they weren’t close connections, that person was still able to make an introduction.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

“Getting to meet my clients in person after working so hard to make sales,” replied Beth Brittain. Allee concurred, adding that being able to touch the lives of the people she works for—the fans, student athletes— in an emotional way fulfills her.

Dr. Bernie Kish, lecturer and facilities director for sport management in the School of Education, thanked the panelists and students. “It makes me feel so good because there are so many people on this panel that I’ve had the privilege of teaching or working with in one capacity or another,” he said.

“If there is one nugget that you can take with you, it’s been a worthwhile evening,” adding that we are fortunate to be Jayhawks. He encouraged the students to use these Jayhawk connections, and to use the Student Alumni Association to help further alumni ties.

Thanks to our alumni panelists:

  • Jennifer Allee, d’04, g’06, assistant athletics director for marketing and fan experience, Kansas Athletics
  • Jason Booker, d’00, senior director of corporate partnerships and broadcast sales, Kansas City Royals
  • Beth Brittain, d’11, premium sales executive, Sporting KC
  • Ashley Broockerd, b’07, director of national events, National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators (NACWAA)
  • Danny Burns, d’06, director of event operations, Sprint Center
  • Shawn Chevreaux, g’07, director of marketing, National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)
  • Jackson DeLay, d’14, ticket sales representative, Kansas City Chiefs
  • Chris Galle, d’12, partner service coordinator, Jayhawk IMG Sports Marketing
  • Megan Mackey, d’09, client services manager, Kansas City Royals
  • Doc Shobe, d’05, g’07, group sales manager, Kansas Speedway

Watch the slideshow below for pictures from Networking Night, and click here to read tips from the event’s keynote speaker, Jason Booker.


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Eight items to consider in your career

Posted on Apr 3, 2015 in Campus News and News

Student Alumni Association members and sports management students attended Networking Night on March 31, 2015, to learn from Jayhawks working in the world of sports. Ten alumni came back to their alma mater to give advice to the students about how to gain leadership qualities while in college, how to separate yourself from others trying to break into the field and how to balance work life with family life.
Jason Booker speaks at SAA Networking Night

Jason Booker, senior director of corporate partnerships and broadcast sales for the Kansas City Royals, gave the keynote speech at the Student Alumni Association‘s Networking Night last Tuesday. He encouraged the students to find something they are passionate about. “If you truly find something you enjoy, you’re not going to ‘work’ every day,” he said, adding that who you network with professionally and who you associate with can make an impact down the road. “You never know when an opportunity will present itself.”

Case in point: Booker, d’00, was working at the University of South Carolina in 2007 when the Gamecocks hosted the KU men’s basketball team. He took the initiative to introduce himself to Lew Perkins, KU’s then-director of athletics, and discovered that Kansas Athletics had a position to fill. Two weeks later, Booker was on a plane back to Kansas to interview for a job he eventually landed.

Booker shared what he’s learned throughout his eighteen years in the sports marketing field, including these tips.

Eight Items to Consider in Your Career

1. You’ll be dealt obstacles; it’s all about how you handle them.
2. Don’t fall in line and be ordinary; be great for you. If you’re really passionate about something, figure out a way to do it.
3. Nothing will be given to you. If it has been, reality is around the corner. At some point, you won’t have someone there helping you.
4. Life is competitive, but compete for yourself, not the Joneses.
5. Do things the right way and it will pay off for you.
6. Knowledge is power. Stay up or get left behind.
7. There are two things you can control in your work life and personal life: work ethic and attitude.
8. Perception is reality. You are your own personal brand. If you aren’t willing to show it to your parents, it’s not worth posting on social media.

Booker’s current role with the Royals involves overseeing day-to-day functions of the corporate partnership sales and activation teams as well as the Royals Radio Network media sales and affiliate sales. He has served in the position since August, 2014.

Prior to joining the Royals, Booker served for seven years as the executive director and general manager for Jayhawk IMG Sports Marketing, where he oversaw the corporate partnership program and operation functions with the University of Kansas, including Jayhawk Radio and TV Networks, in-venue, digital, print sponsorships and endorsement rights for Kansas Athletics head coaches.

For more information about the Student Alumni Association, membership benefits and other upcoming events, visit

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Members of Alumni Association honored as KU Men of Merit

Posted on Mar 13, 2015 in Campus News and News

KU 2015 Men of Merit |

The University of Kansas on March 10 recognized a group of 15 students, faculty and staff as 2015 Men of Merit at a reception in the Kansas Union. Alumni Association member Steve Allton, c’01, f’02, l’04, g’14, staff attorney for legal services for students; Life Member James Modig, a’73, University architect and director of design and construction management; and Student Alumni Association member Drew Carlburg, a senior in applied behavioral sciences, were among those who received the distinction.

Honorees were selected as individuals who positively define masculinity through challenging norms, taking action and leading by example while making contributions to the University or their community.

“I am lucky to work with people who are passionate about helping students,” said Allton. “The Men of Merit recognition is simply a byproduct of working with outstanding individuals who are vested in the success of our students and our university.”

Former KU football player Gary Green created the KU Men of Merit poster campaign seven years ago to increase awareness of the importance of education and involvement in men’s lives, inspire campus men to take an active role in their college experience and provide role models and mentors for men to be successful.

Posters are available in the Emily Taylor Center for Women and Gender Equality offices.

—Heather Biele

Photo courtesy of Kelsey Kimberlin/KU Marketing Communications

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Annual iModules scholarship opportunity for students

Posted on Feb 5, 2015 in Campus News and News

KU Student Alumni Association, Student Alumni Leadership Board members |

We’re excited to present an opportunity to provide students with a few extra bucks to pay for school!

iModules, an Overland Park-based technology company and close partner of the KU Alumni Association, is offering 15 scholarships of $1,500 each for the 2015-2016 school year.

Are you eligible?

  • Full-time KU student for the Fall 2015 semester
  • A minimum C grade point average
  • Attendance at a school that is an iModules client (KU is!)

How to apply

One reason we’re excited about this scholarship is the simplicity of the application.

  • Create an online account
  • Submit an application form
  • Submit an essay in response to two quetions

It’s as easy as that! Please encourage KU students to apply for this scholarship; winners will be announced May 1, 2015.

Visit for more information and the application.

We’d love to see more KU students win the scholarship!

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Career professionals offer jobseeking advice to SAA members

Posted on Feb 4, 2015 in Campus News and News

SAA Career Preparation Workshop |
Members of the KU Student Alumni Association attended a career preparation and workshop event last night at the Adams Alumni Center. The event, designed to help students prepare for the upcoming Career Fair on Feb. 12, was co-hosted by the University Career Center.

Five top human resources professionals—including several graduates of KU— from around the area shared advice and tips with the students. The expert panel included Kelsey Belt, c’12, university relations recruiter with Garmin; Heather Bunker, c’97, staffing specialist with Manpower; Lucy McGilley, g’11, customer community manager with Perceptive Software; Don Mitchum, talent acquisition advisor with Payless ShoeSource; and Betsy L. Scott, vice president of human resources for Protection 1 Security Solutions.

University Career Center staff members Chance Clutter, assistant director, and Catherine Herst and Rhiannon Racy, graduate career coaches, provided additional information for the attendees. After the Q&A session and workshop, the students had opportunities to network with the professionals and ask additional questions.

A summary of the panelists’ advice is below.

Top five tips for jobseekers:

1. Have a good attitude! No one wants to hire someone who spends twenty minutes grumbling about their current or past jobs.

2. Do your research. Be prepared and learn what the company is about. Don’t ask “So, what does Perceptive Software do?” Know the answer before you arrive.

3. Be professional. Have a good, firm handshake; look people in the eye; be polite and say thank you. Follow up with a handwritten thank you note after interviews.

4. Leverage your career services office. Take advantage of résumé reviews, résumé workshops and mock interviews.

5. Be a team player!

What can I do to stand out at a career fair?

Recruiters will notice how well you engage with others. Are you making eye contact and mingling with other people, or are you standing alone, off to the side? Interacting with others demonstrates good communication skills.
Company representatives are asked the same questions over and over, which is fine—but if you’ve done your research and mention something specific about the company, such as a recent acquisition, you’re more likely to be remembered.

Should I use a template to create a cover letter?

A template is fine, but make sure your cover letter is prepared specifically for the position you are applying for. If your letter is one-size-fits-all, it’ll be obvious and many recruiters won’t bother reading it. Don’t use keywords provided in a template; write your own copy in the letter.

If I’m contacted for an interview, how can I make the best impression?

Above all, be on time, be polite to everyone you meet and be well-groomed. Avoid strong perfumes and lotions; if interviewers are overwhelmed or sensitive to smells, they’ll be focused on getting you out of their office as soon as possible.

Do your research and ask questions—interview them, too. Asking questions demonstrates your interest and passion. Be sure to bring a résumé, even if you’ve already submitted one; managers will often ask for a copy at the interview. You know those SAA padfolios that you receive as a senior member? Use them!

Perhaps the funniest tip of the evening: If you’re interviewing via Skype, make sure you wear a full outfit. Managers have been known to ask the candidates to stand up!

What questions do you recommend that we ask at the end of an interview?

Ask about the company culture. Again, do your research about the company. They want to know that you’re motivated enough to do your homework.

Ask what the person in the position would be expected to accomplish in the first 30, 60 or 90 days. A question like this comes across as “I want to be that person to make an impact.”

What questions should I avoid?

Hiring managers are often turned off when candidates start asking about career progression right away. It’s certainly okay to ask about salary—that’s often brought up by the interviewer—but don’t keep looping back to it or it may raise red flags.

Do you check social media?

The panelists had interesting responses to this question. Some, as a policy, do not check social media accounts. “Once I see something, I can’t unsee it, and I don’t want to be influenced by something I’ve seen on social media,” said Heather Bunker. That said, even if it’s a company policy to avoid screening applicants’ social media accounts, it doesn’t mean that others in the company won’t look. It’s still best to make sure your privacy settings are configured correctly and that you aren’t posting inappropriate things.

Most recruiters do, however, check LinkedIn. Follow company LinkedIn pages; recruiters can search their followers, and by following their page, you are demonstrating interest in their company.

How do I come up with an elevator speech?

An elevator speech is a 30-second or so summary of yourself. David Johnston, vice president of marketing and internet services, offered his advice: “If you can combine whatever you are good at with whatever it is you love, you will be successful. Articulating what you are passionate about can be tricky. Ask yourself what it is that draws you to your particular field or passion. Start to identify the values associated with that, whether it’s being a good collaborator, your creative side or whatever. Harness those values and position yourself as someone who brings extra value to an organization.”

And remember: Not every job you take is going to be your dream job. Sometimes you have to take other jobs to build the skills to get you to your dream job. Even if it isn’t where you want to be long term, you can use your current position to gain skills.



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Event allows alumni and students to make virtual connections

Posted on Feb 3, 2015 in Campus News and News

Last week, the KU Alumni Association hosted its first-ever online networking event for alumni and students. Using a platform provided by Brazen Careerist, members of the Alumni Association were able to log in to the event from anywhere in the world and connect with fellow Jayhawks.

“I really enjoyed the online networking event today and was able to connect with people from various backgrounds and areas of the world— all from my desk at lunch,” noted Ashley Backhus, j’07, a Life Member and owner of

Current students who are members of the Student Alumni Association also participated in the event to help sharpen their networking skills and seek advice from alumni.

If you missed the first virtual event, don’t worry—we plan to offer additional opportunities to network online with Jayhawks!

Check out the infographic below to see some of the numbers from our first event.

Online networking by the numbers |


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Four KU students receive 2015 Judy Ruedlinger scholarships

Posted on Dec 17, 2014 in Campus News and News

Judy Rudy scholarship award recipients

The Alumni Association presented four outstanding Student Alumni Leadership Board members with Judy L. Ruedlinger Awards of $500 each for spring 2015.

The recipients are Elizabeth Rupp, a senior from Hays; Rachel Volk, a junior from Greeley; Austin Lear, a senior from Springfield, MO; and Jenni Corcoran, a senior from Evergreen Park, IL.

The Judy L. Ruedlinger Award honors the memory of Ruedlinger, who founded the Student Alumni Association (SAA) in 1987 and was known by her students as “Judy Rudy.” The award was established to maintain commitment and involvement of past, present and future SAA members. It recognizes student leaders who convey pride in membership, public awareness of SAA and a sense of permanence, strength and integrity in the organization. Ideally, it also is meant to encourage Student Alumni Leadership Board members to join the KU Alumni Association after graduation and continue contact with the university.

The Judy L. Ruedlinger Award Fund is managed by KU Endowment, the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management foundation for KU.

The awards were presented Dec. 9th at the Adams Alumni Center.

Student award recipients are listed below by hometown, major, level in school, parents’ names and high school.

From Hays, Kansas: Elizabeth Rupp, senior in Health Information Management, daughter of Kathy and Andrew Rupp; Thomas Moore Prep-Marian High School

From Newton, Kansas: Rachel Volk, junior in Math Education, daughter of Marilyn and James Volk; Newton High School.

From Springfield, Missouri: Austin Lear, senior in Accounting & Information Systems, son of Danette and Andy Lear; Kickapoo High School.

From Evergreen Park, Illinois: Jenni Corcoran, senior in Spanish, daughter of Judy and Clarke Corcoran; Marist High School.

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Students celebrate Hawksoween on Wescoe Beach

Posted on Oct 31, 2014 in Campus News and News

The Student Alumni Association wished the students of KU a happy Halloween early Friday morning with a Hawksoween celebration. SALB members served over 400 cups of coffee and cider. It was a chilly Halloween, so the coffee and cider was quite literally a hot commodity! Hawksoween happens each year on Wescoe Beach and it is something KU students look forward to.

Student Alumni Association Hawksoween

Student Alumni Association Hawksoween

—Autrin Naderi, vice president of communications, Student Alumni Leadership Board

Student Alumni AssociationThe Student Alumni Association (SAA) is a level of membership in the KU Alumni Association especially for current students. Throughout a student’s years at KU, SAA provides numerous benefits and opportunities. Members also get to meet Jayhawk alumni, friends and faculty–birds of distinction who will share proud traditions and provide a network of mentors to support you. Join today!

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Student members tour Rock Chalk Park; network with alumni

Posted on Oct 27, 2014 in Campus News and News

SAA Tour of Rock Chalk Park

This past week has been a busy one for Student Alumni Leadership Board members. In the midst of midterms, members still found time to cheer on the KU women’s soccer team, attend a networking night and dance the day away for KU Dance Marathon.

To start the week off, SALB and SAA members headed over to Rock Chalk Park for a behind-the-scenes tour of the new athletics facilities. After the tour, members cheered the women’s soccer team in their match against West Virginia.

“I enjoyed getting to tour the new facilities that women’s soccer, track and field, and softball share at Rock Chalk Park. I loved how the architects mirrored the look of the Oread Hotel on the interior and how the press box resembles Memorial Stadium,” said Elizabeth Rupp, vice president of legacy recruitment for SALB.

On Tuesday, Oct. 21, SAA hosted a fall Networking Night. Although game 1 of the World Series was taking place at the same time, 50 SAA members attended the event and spent the night mingling with KU alumni.

“The alumni were great and had a lot of valuable advice about internships and entering the job market post graduation,” said Autrin Naderi, vice president of communications.

To finish the week, SALB members participated in KU Dance Marathon, an all-day event that raises money for Children’s Miracle Network. This is the first year SALB has participated and everyone who attended had a blast hanging out with the children.

Thoreau asks, “what are we busy about”, and to answer that question: SALB was busy with a little bit of everything. It is a busy time of the year, and this past week is evidence of the various events SALB members have the opportunity to be a part of. Visit our Flickr collection to see more pictures of Student Alumni Association events.

SAA Networking Night

Student Alumni AssociationThe Student Alumni Association (SAA) is a level of membership in the KU Alumni Association especially for current students. Throughout a student’s years at KU, SAA provides numerous benefits and opportunities. Members also get to meet Jayhawk alumni, friends and faculty–birds of distinction who will share proud traditions and provide a network of mentors to support you. Join today! 

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