By Charlene Winters, ’73
LIKE its counterparts at other universities, BYU‘s alumni association works with national and international chapters to provide opportunities for alumni to remain connected to the university. But for Roy A. Brinkerhoff, ’84, who manages BYU‘s 70 U.S. chapters, the meaning of Alumni Association chapters goes much deeper than that.
“Certainly a chapter can provide the rah-rah for the university. It’s only natural, particularly with a strong sports program,” Brinkherhoff says. “But we have learned over the years that we are inseparably connected to the LDS Church. As such, we are not always a typical alumni association. Our chapters are becoming a real resource to local Church units. Instead of sponsoring events with the chapters for BYU purposes only, we work with the Church to strengthen its events.” Alumni Association chapters have sponsored or cosponsored a number of such events, Brinkerhoff notes, including shows by university performing groups, speeches by professors, and Know Your Religion firesides.
Another vital component of many chapters is their ability to provide replenishment grants for BYU students living in their areas. These grants provide a way for students to defray some educational costs until they are in a position to replenish the funds.
“Some chapters have been highly resourceful in raising funds as a way to benefit local students,” Brinkerhoff explains. Because BYU‘s recent capital campaign provided a $30,000 match for chapters that raised the same amount, he says, “We now have 25 chapters with replenishment endowments, and from those endowments comes the new potential to help between 30 and 60 students in any given year.”
When Brinkerhoff began working on replenishment grants four years ago, only two or three awards were given each year. “This year there were 14; next year that will probably double; and the year after that it will probably triple,” he says.
Along with these developments, the Alumni Association expects substantial international growth.
“As we enter a new millennium, our international focus on chapters abroad brings BYU closer to Church members throughout the world,” says Reid A. Robison, ’75, who manages Alumni Association activities, including BYU‘s international chapters. “With more than 20 chapters internationally, BYU alumni have the opportunity to get involved in service learning, which strengthens the educational pursuits of Church members in other countries.”
INFO: For information about Alumni Association chapters in your area, visit alumni.byu.edu/ch or contact Roy Brinkerhoff: 801-378-4964, toll-free 1-800-437-4663, or roy_brinkerhoff@ byu.edu.