Trustees discuss alumni association

The Santa Monica College Board of Trustees discussed the development of an SMC Alumni Association at their May 4 meeting.

SMC Grant Project Manager, Regina Jennings, presented the proposal to the Board. SMC's Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Institutions Grant would be used to fund the program. The federal funds, although allocated for students of Asian and Pacific Islander origin, does allow for the money to be used to develop an alumni association.

According to Jennings, while using the AANAPII's funds is permissable under the terms of the grant, it was also the source of debate among the Trustees.

"I know [SMC] has been trying to develop an alumni associations for decades," said Trustee Margaret Quiñones-Perez. "I just don't want allocations of these dollars to be used for [an SMC Alumni Association] when it could been used for students who need it in that program."

According to Jennings, the potential alumni program would use $130,000 of the $2 million awarded by the grant.

While some of the Trustee's expressed concern over this issue, others are questioning why SMC has not yet developed such an association.

"It doesn't make sense that a college with SMC's standing doesn't have an alumni program," said SMC student Rebecca Hirsch. "Almost every school I've heard of has some kind of alumni association. It would really give students a sense of pride about attending SMC, especially when community colleges are generally viewed as less than other universities."

Many other California community colleges already have established alumni associations. Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa and Saddleback College in Mission offer scholarships and networking resources through their alumni programs.

"There are many important people who have attended SMC," said Trustee Nancy Greenstein. "These people can bring resources, hopefully financially, and also in terms of connections for students. This can only help students be successful in their future careers."

The establishment of an SMC Alumni Association has not yet been approved. With Jennings presenting only a sub-contractual agreement for the alumni programs development, no final plan has yet been stated.

"I don't think there's any need to be concerned that the monies being used won't support students," said Jennings. "It is ultimately to generate money for tomorrow's students."


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