University alumni reach out to students on first day back

Cassandra Pollock

After welcoming new Longhorns at Gone to Texas Tuesday night, the University’s alumni center welcomed students as they ended their first day of classes.

Texas Exes, the alumni association affiliated with the University, hosted an “Orange and White Welcome” for students following a kickoff rally and official class of 2020 photo at the Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.

Courtney Roehling, vice president of engagement for Texas Exes, said between 2,000 and 3,000 students attended the event. Although the event was open to all students on campus, Roehling said a majority of the students in attendance were freshmen or transfer students.

“As the alumni association, we want to do everything we can to keep people engaged,” Roehling said. “We want to get them engaged while they’re students, and keep them engaged after they graduate.”

Biochemistry freshman Mariya Shkolnaya said she thinks the alumni network plays a big role in helping students craft their experience at UT.

“It helps you find where you belong,” Shkolnaya said.

Physics freshman Devesh Singh said he wasn’t familiar with Texas Exes, or how the alumni network could help students after four years. 

Student Government President Kevin Helgren said it goes without saying how important a strong student-alumni relationship is, especially at a university with more than 51,000 people and with the largest incoming class in the University’s history of more than 8,500 students.

Helgren said the University is partnering with Texas Exes at this year’s sporting events to encourage a unified, passionate community. Helgren also said that he, along with Student Government Vice President Binna Kim, will discuss possible ways the alumni can engage with current students at the University to a Texas Exes Chapter and Leadership
Conference in early September.

“All of the students here now will eventually be alumni not too long from now,” Helgren said, “Establishing a direct and effective channel of communication between current students and the people who were in our shoes years ago is really important.”