By Charlene R. Winters, ’73
ONE of the most important events sponsored each year by alumni chapters is Back-to-School Night. This event, which takes the form of a potluck dinner or a backyard barbecue, brings together alumni, parents, and current and prospective students in a casual atmosphere designed to excite, motivate, and reassure new BYU students.
Incoming students find this event particularly useful, because the closer they get to their first venture away from home, the more confidence they can glean in learning that others have been through it and enjoyed their time at BYU, says Reid A. Robison, ’75, who directs alumni activities for the university.
The opportunity for returning students to visit new students is the most beneficial aspect of the event, says Lorrie H. Naylor, ’81, chapter chair in Boise, Idaho. “Nothing takes the place of experience,” she adds. “It is even helpful for returning students to visit with one another about apartments and other issues. This year we are holding ours earlier so we can talk about registration.”
The Boise Chapter is one of more than 30 chapters that offered Back-to-School Nights in 2001.
Roy A. Brinkerhoff, ’84, alumni relations staff manager who works with chapter leadership across the country, says he hopes students realize they are “alumni-in-residence,” who are welcome to affiliate with chapters in their area.
“The chapter back-to-school activity is a beginning of the lifeline experience of BYU,” he says. “Students have the added benefit of knowing who else is coming to BYUfrom their area, of having an understanding of what they are going to be faced with, and of sharing information with each other.”