By ANDY GOODELL
The Oskaloosa Herald
He wants alumni to be in the know.
Jason Van Wyk, a 2008 graduate of William Penn University, became president of the executive committee of Penn’s Alumni Association in February. He had previously served as executive vice president of that executive committee.
Van Wyk majored in history, with a minor in computer technology and business administration.
As a student, Van Wyk was chosen by then president of the university, Dr. Richard Sours, to be a president’s diplomat.
“With that I was able to travel across the nation with him, talking with alumni and friends,” said Van Wyk, noting that this experience is what made him get more involved with the university. “It really sparked my interest.”
Obviously, Van Wyk finds his work with the university to be rewarding. A big part of this work is providing the face of Penn for alumni and others.
Along with being present for numerous campus events, Van Wyk and others help with student move-in day, he said.
He said there are also social events to plan all across the nation for alumni.
The biggest undertaking for the alumni association each year is homecoming.
“It’s going to be even larger this year,” Van Wyk said. “Our main goal is to interact with alumni and keep them engaged.”
One way to keep alumni engaged is through“Pieces of Penn,” which goes out by e-mail. There’s also the “William Penn Bulletin” that includes updates on campus happenings.
So, why is it important to keep alumni engaged?
Van Wyk explained that a college is only as strong as its alumni and vice versa.
“You take a look at that campus and see all of the things that have been made possible by alumni and you go on and you talk with students and see how excited they are about the campus and about their future and that’s kind of why we do it,” said Van Wyk. “It’s to make a difference in their future — make their future better.”
Van Wyk will continue in his current role with the alumni association’s executive committee for another two and a half years. He has goals for that time period, saying the executing committee would like to continue growing the level of interaction and finding ways they can further engage alumni, younger alumni and current students, as well.
To find out more about Penn’s Alumni Association, visit www.wmpenn.edu/Alumni/Alumni_Association/ or search “William Penn University Alumni” on Facebook.com.
“Facebook is reaching a very broad audience,” explained Van Wyk, noting that photos and other postings appear on the Alumni Association Facebook page. “We want alumni to see what’s going on on campus. There’s a lot of exciting things going on. We’ve had great feedback from the alumni who are on that page.”
Van Wyk said the alumni association wants students and alumni to have a relationship with the university for the rest of their lives.
Herald City Editor Andy Goodell can be reached at email@example.com.