Community is a precious gift that the Lord created us to not only desire, but need. Throughout scripture, we see God’s hand guiding and directing individuals in unique and intentional ways for their good and His glory, but he doesn’t stop there. In Matthew 5:16, we are instructed to, “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” In Hebrews 10:24-25, we are encouraged to, “consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” In Proverbs 27:17, we read, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” God created us to be intentional with others.
The great commission that Jesus imparted to His disciples before ascending into heaven was to go and make disciples (Matthew 28:19). As believers, that is the mission we all share. To do it well, we need to be walking closely with the Lord on a personal level in conjunction with surrounding ourselves with like-minded people who can love us, challenge us, encourage us, equip us, and sharpen us. UNW is a place where community with like-minded people can (and does) happen not only while a student is pursuing his or her education on campus, but after that student becomes an alum.
This diverse community of Christ-followers can continue to be a part of the refining experience in one another’s lives with all of the many changes, challenges, successes, and hardships that come with age, independence, and experience. So many blessings are available through these connections with fellow believers who are amplifying the gospel in their homes, churches, communities, and world. Legacy Alumni (60 years+ of age) offer invaluable wisdom and insight and can be valuable mentors to those who are younger and striving to succeed in both personal and professional ways. Prime Alumni (30-59 years of age) also offer tremendous knowledge and wisdom; they are in the midst of their pursuit as change agents in the spheres they’re actively involved in. Young Alumni (29 years of age and younger) offer an energy and excitement that is contagious; they also bring new, inventive ideas to the table that promote successful initiatives in the most current ways. Together, this community can have an amazing impact. Together, the gospel can be amplified.
Below is a breakdown of past, present, and future happenings for the Alumni community, led by Monte Abeler, Director of Alumni and Parent Engagement and Cassie Plantage, Coordinator of Alumni and Parent Engagement.
Upcoming ways to get involved:
Young Alum Events. We are planning to hold events every two months for young alums (age 29 & under) to connect, grow, and have some fun! Coming up on February 16 is a chance for young alums to watch a UNW Basketball Game while learning some practical personal finance tips.
Celebrating 50 Years of Men’s and Women’s Basketball- Join us on Feb. 17 to celebrate and honor 50 years of basketball at UNW. This will be a special time for basketball alums to connect.
You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown VIP Experience- On Feb. 23, alumni will find a VIP Section in Totino Lobby, prior to the production start time of 7:30 PM, where every alum will receive a complimentary treat and a water. UNW shirts will be available for those who have not received one yet this year. Backstage tours will be available for alumni after the show. Additionally, there will be a photo booth for people to pose with cast members. Director Jennifer Hunter will be at the table to greet guests and answer questions about the show. Get your tickets!
Alumni Gatherings – These meetups help alumni connect with other alums who live in close proximity. We have several gatherings coming up this spring: Ft. Myers, FL (March 8), Orlando, FL (March 10), and Charlotte, NC (April 17). Additional gatherings expected later in 2024 in Wisconsin, Colorado, South Dakota, Texas, and Minnesota.
SOAR Leadership Conference. A volunteer/mentorship opportunity is available for alums to come back on campus on April 9 to provide leadership advice and career networking for current UNW students.
Northwestern Eagle Awards - Starting this year, there will be a total of four awards that deserving alumni will be nominated to receive: The Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna, The Buckles-Hanna, The Rising Eagle, and The Eagle on Mission. View the criteria for each award to nominate fellow alums.
Eagle Giving Day! – This is an opportunity for alums to reinforce “The Nest” and help sustain Northwestern in the mission of equipping students with a baseline of Christ-centered leadership.
Flight Night: Celebrate Before You Soar- This new event celebrates our graduating seniors and welcomes them into the UNW Alumni Family. The first of its kind took place on Dec. 21 of this past year. The next one will be hosted on May 17. Monte’s desire is to have a large presence of alumni to welcome students into the group.
Homecoming- Mark your calendars for Oct. 4-5 of this year for a weekend filled with opportunities for Alumni to come together as a community. The Golf Classic, Homecoming Showcase, Purple Donut Run, and Homecoming Block Party highlight the weekend.
An active UNW Alumni Facebook group will be an online resource for people to connect, post updates and requests, and share stories as well as opportunities to gather together in smaller groups for various purposes.
Monte plans to launch an alumni podcast later this year that will feature alumni and focus on life and leadership lessons, providing insight on topics that are current and relevant to maximize the Kingdom impact of our alumni. Stay tuned!
The vision for the UNW Alumni Experience is clear: In this community, people pray for another, cheer together when successes are shared, grieve together in times of sadness and loss, network with one another, meet up in smaller groups with people who share similar interests or are in the same season of life, pursue mentors who offer tremendous wisdom and insight in all seasons of life, join together to give back to the UNW community in unique and specific ways, and ultimately, amplify the gospel together in God-orchestrated ways. The alumni team is committed to this call and we’d love you to step in with open arms and hearts to watch God do amazing things with and through this priceless community.
In Monte’s words: “The Northwestern Alumni community consists of Eagles living on mission, connected by the common bond of Northwestern and our faith, passionately pursing the advancement of the Kingdom of God. Fly, Eagles, Fly!”
We weren’t designed to do life alone. The UNW Alumni Family has a spot for you to share your time, talents, and/or treasures to benefit current UNW students as well as our communities at large.