By Gayla Sorenson
I am often awed by how our alums give back—donating time, talents, and financial resources in amazing ways. Over the years, I have come to recognize two truths. First, we at BYU Law absolutely, utterly, unequivocally need our alumni. Second, just as surely as we need your help, there is no cookie-cutter approach to how you can give back. Often, when alumni are asked to “give back,” thoughts simply turn to money. That’s a little myopic.
Yes, we do need and appreciate financial donations—all of which now go directly to student aid, whether that aid be in the form of scholarships, fellowships, travel stipends for service projects or co-curricular competitions, or funding for research assistant positions. No monetary donation is too small.
But there are so many other vital ways to help build the law school that helped build you. Depending on your talents, resources, and availability, we want to make sure we’re communicating specific opportunities to give back that appeal to you personally.
You can help us help you help us (try saying that ten times fast) by filling out this brief questionnaire.
Just how might you be able to give back, other than by making a financial donation?
Here are four ideas to prime the pump:
- Professional Development Coach—Get matched with a current law student and hold monthly telephonic or video sessions to discuss key areas of professional competency (e.g., reliability, teamwork, trustworthiness). Initial commitments are for one year with the option of extending with the same student as relationships develop. The time commitment is approximately one hour per month with the student and two to three hours per year of training and feedback calls.
- Alumni Ambassador—Alumni Ambassadors help with law school recruitment. Ambassadors may be invited to reach out to admitted or prospective students to answer general questions about law school, talk about their BYU Law experience, and discuss potential career opportunities for BYU Law graduates. Other invitations could include attending local law fairs, student receptions or dinners, and other recruitment events for admitted or prospective students. Recruiting occurs year-round, but law fairs and forums tend to be in September and October, while the busiest time for recruiting admitted students is January through April. Law fairs, forums, receptions, or dinners generally run two to four hours (not counting travel time), and working with individual prospective students usually takes less than two hours.
- Employment Liaison—Assist our Career Services professionals in connecting our students to appropriate summer internships and permanent employment opportunities. Different aspects of this role include coordinating between your employer and our Career Services office to ensure employers have up-to-date information about our outstanding students, participating in on-campus and other interviewing initiatives, and introducing students to contacts in specific geographic regions or practice areas.
- Class President, Class Recorder, or Class Giving Coordinator—Help strengthen the bonds of friendship forged during your law school experience by serving as a class officer to facilitate communications, inspire service, and create new shared memories with your former classmates. Class officers serve for five years. Class presidents participate in quarterly calls that last one to two hours. Ideally, class officers attend the annual planning meeting (in Provo or Salt Lake) and their 5-year reunions.
That list is not exhaustive. If you have other ideas, you can let us know in the questionnaire. And, if you have seen someone give back in a unique and meaningful way to the law school (or elsewhere in the community), we always want to hear about it! You can email me at email@example.com.