For the entire month of April, the Alumni Association and Mississippi State University's staff will prepare for the Senior Celebration. This celebration is from 5-7 p.m. April 24 at the Hunter Henry Center, and it is a way for seniors to look past graduation and to their future.
This event is designed to not only allow the graduating seniors an opportunity to network, but also an opportunity to get to know other MSU alums from the cities to which individual seniors will move to.
While the Alumni Association has hosted this celebration for several years, it is hosted this year by the staff of MSU with the assistance of the Alumni Delegates to increase the number of opportunities and connections seniors can make. Another goal for the event is to allow seniors an easy way to connect to various alumni chapters.
Orly Hardin is the assistant director of the Alumni Engagement and Recruitment Program.
“It is my job to organize and plan on-campus events for our alumni,” Hardin said.
Because of this, she works with recruiting students and current students, but she is particularly focused on staying in touch with graduating seniors.
Brady Sistrunk, assistant coordinator of alumni chapters and young alumni programs, said one perk of this event is networking.
“We’ve had to revamp it this year … to really provide these graduating seniors an opportunity to understand what it’s like to become an alum of MSU,” Sistrunk said. “These seniors want to find their alumni chapters when they move to their new city, which will help them stay in touch with the university. As well as they’ll get plugged into young alumni events and programs in their city, so they can be around people their own age and network with people who are already established in their city and where they’re living.”
Not only is familiarity with different MSU alumni chapters an advantage of going to the Senior Celebration, but there are also going to be several networking opportunities seniors can look forward to.
Because many seniors are unsure of their plans after graduation, the Alumni Association plans for the event to include a diverse group of people.
“We want to have some folks there in different fields that may be able to talk to some of these seniors and give them some guidance and make some connections for them, so they’ve got some things to look at after graduation,” Hardin said.
Because of this, they are focused on bringing in people from Jackson, Birmingham and other cities where students are likely to move.
“We want to have folks there who can make a connection with those students, so they feel more comfortable as they move into their next state of life,” Hardin said.
While much of the focus for this celebration is to give students a prospectively better future, it is still a celebration and will certainly include many different prizes.
If a student RSVPs ahead of time, they will be entered to win a set of 2019 football season tickets in the lower bowl at Davis Wade Stadium. Students can RSVP at alumni.msstate.edu/seniorcelebration.
This prize will allow a graduating senior the chance to come back for free games to MSU, rather than buying their own tickets.
“For students who RSVP, they’ll also have a chance to win a personalized brick that will be permanently located in The Junction, through the help of our annual giving team,” Sistrunk said.
Not only will the event offer prizes like these, but there will also be free food, such as funnel fries and a french fry bar.
“We are going to have a DJ, we’ve got Jack and the mascot here, we’ve got a photo booth,” Hardin said. “We’re going to have a really large map where people can put a push-pin where people are going to be moving next.”
Graduating seniors will receive an email in which they can RSVP.
Not only is this a celebration with prizes and free food, but it is also a time for these seniors to come together and celebrate their time and accomplishments at MSU, while learning how to stay connected.