Erin Sudrovech

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Erin Sudrovech keeps alumni connected with OU. Read about the job she loves.

by Kaylee Kean

“You are an alumni for the rest of your life.”

This is the mantra of Erin Sudrovech, the associate director of alumni and community engagement for the OU Alumni Association.

The “34 years young” woman says she loves her job and can’t think of doing anything else.

Sudrovech graduated from Western Michigan University with a bachelor’s degree in interpersonal communication and a master’s degree in organizational communication, but the past eight years of her life have been dedicated to helping Oakland.

Keeping alumni connected
The Oakland University Alumni Associate helps alumni to stay connected and involved after graduation. The organization plans programs, initiatives and events to encourage and enable the alumni to come back and keep giving to Oakland long after they have left.

“I do a lot of planning to make sure we reach the goals we’re supposed to,” Sudrovech said. “I want to make sure alumni feel connected.”

Christina Simon, assistant director of executive events, is one of Sudrovech’s colleagues and admirers.

“She has such a large personality, and rallies the team really well,” said Simon during a phone interview.

Simon said that when she thinks of Sudrovech, she thinks of one word – dedication.

“She’s a good cheerleader for our department and for OU,” said Simon. “She’s got a great voice, and is able to grab small crowds, large crowds, individuals; anyone.”

Keeping alumni enthusiastic is a huge part of Sudrovech’s job.

“As much as we can, we want to set up a positive experience of Oakland and keep people coming back,” said Sudrovech.

Amanda Fylan, the alumni engagement and marketing manager, said Sudrovech does just that.

“She just has that passion that helps to bring alumni back,” said Fylan of her supervisor during a phone interview.

Fylan said Sudrovech’s energy always makes coming to work exciting.

“She is just phenomenal,” said Fylan.

Making memories
One of the things Sudrovech said she enjoys most about her job is getting to hear all of the alumni memories and stories from their time at Oakland.

“College is a great time in anyone’s life and that’s what we’re dealing with,” she said.

Some of her favorite tales come from the charter class alumni, the very first students to graduate from Oakland.

“It’s cool that we (Oakland) are young enough to hear memories of Matilda Wilson and Woody Varner and the people who started it all,” said Sudrovech.

Matilda Dodge Wilson was one of the founders of Oakland University, and Durward “Woody” Varner was the university’s first chancellor. It is they whom the Wilson and Varner halls are named after.

One story in particular Sudrovech shared came from some of the female charter class members who were often recruited to help at Wilson’s parties. According to Sudrovech, the young women would handle the expensive coats of Wilson’s guests and try them on while the guests attended the party.

“I just think that’s so funny,” said Sudrovech. “I know I’d do the same thing.”

Reaching out to students
While the OUAA is not very involved with the current student population, there is some activity with what Sudrovech likes to call a “targeted approach”.

“The main goal for the OUAA is to promote visibility so that the students understand we exist before graduation,” Sudrovech said.

There are certain programs and events that Sudrovech and the other staff members hope will provide awareness of the OUAA and all it can provide. One such program is the upcoming Leadership OU program.

According to Sudrovech, this program will take a certain number of students during the fall semester and pair each one with their own alumni mentor. The participants will also be invited to monthly presentations from various alumni leaders in the community.

Besides developing this program, the OUAA has also partnered with student boards and has sponsored speakers, the most recent one being Jane Goodall.

“We want to look like a good partner to the student population,” Sudrovech said. “We want them to come back.”

Every year she hopes students continue to help OU and dedicate what she likes to call their “time, talent and treasure”.

But most of all she just wants to make a difference in the world.

“I love seeing alumni and knowing that they are better off with a degree from OU than without,” said Sudrovech. “I want to continue changing people’s lives.”

You can find out more about the OUAA at www.oualumni.com or www.facebook.com/oualumniassociation.

Any questions about the Leadership OU program or other events can be emailed to [email protected]