Benefits by Association

When Jenna Williams attended Medicine Hat College, the concept of alumni didn’t hold much meaning. Her focus was on doing well in the office technology program and making the right connections to start her career.

But her career started where her education ended – right back at MHC. She landed a job in the college’s business department after graduation and eventually ended up in the advancement office as the community relations officer. In addition to working with partners to secure scholarship funding, she’s also actively involved in building MHC’s alumni community.

“Now I understand what it means to be an alumnus and the value those connections can have,” says Williams. “We’re working hard to engage with our alumni. We want to hear their stories and celebrate their successes. We want to offer services and supports that are meaningful to them.”

Her goal is not unlike that of the alumni association’s original mission. Working with the Medicine Hat College Foundation, the association was established in 1994 to build and maintain a positive relationship between MHC and former students and encourage members of the alumni community to give back to the college and to participate in its future direction.

Strategies were discussed, monthly meetings were held, and over 9,000 former students were contacted by association staffers – all without the help of Google.

Janet Bray, a former business student and the association’s recording secretary at that time, remembers going through every registration form on file since 1965 to track down alumni. It took her and another staff member a year to complete this task.

Meeting minutes reflected the association’s efforts to launch an alumni newsletter and set fundraising goals. There was even talk of moving the alumni association to a separate house on campus to create a designated space where alumni could gather, recalls Bray.

Nearly 25 years later, there is no formal alumni association but MHC is still working to build relationships with past graduates and provide opportunities for them to connect with the college.

In addition to the campus services already available to MHC alumni like free weight room access, career support services, and the Entrepreneur Development Centre, Williams is working with various partners to offer new incentives. TD Meloche Monnex is a long time college partner that provides discounts on home and auto insurance to MHC grads. New to the benefits package this year are discounted rates at Medicine Hat hotels, and 10% off products and services at local Mr. Lube and Moxies franchises.

There’s also a new process in place to make it easier for alumni to access these benefits. Instead of having to make a trip to the campus, alumni can apply online and have their benefits card mailed out to them.

“We hope to grow our benefits program to offer even greater value to our alumni community. But value also comes from staying connected. Medicine Hat College cares about the success of its students. I know this because I’ve been a student and have benefited from the relationships that started here,” says Williams.

“We want alumni to keep in touch and share their stories. That might mean submitting an idea for our online magazine, real, or coming into the classroom to mentor a new generation of students. Alumni have the power to impact the lives of students in a very meaningful way and we hope they will consider joining our special community.”