COPH Alumni Society receives USFAA honor

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The USF College of Public Health (COPH) Alumni Society received an honorable mention for most-improved group at this year’s USF Alumni Academy and Group Excellence Awards, held virtually in August.

The Group Excellence Awards, presented annually by the USF Alumni Association (USFAA), “recognize the hard work, creativity and initiative of USF’s alumni groups, which support the university and its students by connecting alumni; boosting USF’s stature; aiding students; making an impact in their communities; and rallying Bulls to advocate for USF,” says the USFAA.

“We had great momentum in 2019, but COVID-19 put a hard stop to the spring 2020 events,” said Brittney Blair, chair of the COPH Alumni Society. “Receiving an honorable mention let us know that the USFAA saw the strides and efforts our volunteer leaders were making to uphold the mission and vision of our society.”

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COPH alumni gather (pre-COVID-19) for the 2019 USF/Georgia Tech football game. (Photo by Natalie Preston)

Despite being dormant for 16 years, the COPH Alumni Society is now bigger and better than ever.

“In 2019, I took part in a focus group hosted by the COPH and Bulls of the Last Decade (BOLD), a USF Foundation initiative,” reported Blair, who received her BSPH from the COPH in 2012 and her MPH in 2015. “That meeting sparked the resurgence of the COPH Alumni Society. We started having monthly roundtables to develop a leadership team and brainstorm ideas to strengthen engagement between public health alumni and the college.”

Last year the group launched the USF COPH Alumni News, a quarterly newsletter. They also hold monthly leadership meetings and continue to collaborate with the USFAA to host alumni/student networking events (all virtual since the start of COVID-19). Upcoming virtual events include:

· 7@7 on Oct. 22 (7@7 is a program in which alumni from different public health fields share their experience with current students and fellow alumni; the event typically includes seven speakers and occurs at 7 p.m.)

· The Great Give food donation drive on Nov. 1-Dec 1

· Pre-holiday stress-management yoga session on Nov. 15

· End-of-the-year Ugly Sweater social in December

Attendees can register for events on the USFAA website.

The COPH’s Alumni Society hosted an alumni-networking dinner (pre-COVID-19). (Photo by Natalie Preston)

Why get involved in the COPH Alumni Society?

“Staying in touch with your alma mater is an essential way to continue the valuable education you received,” explained Blair. “You get to build a network of graduates who will expand your professional connections. And you also get to show your school pride at our social gatherings! We highlight the achievements of our alums and encourage them to give back by helping current students succeed.”

Story by Donna Campisano, USF College of Public Health