Aiming to bring together and unite VMU alumni
Vytautas Magnus University (VMU), as part of its 2021-2027 strategic goals related to mobilising the alumni community, keeping in touch with and improving the university’s community through alumni experience, has established the position of VMU Alumni Coordinator, which will be held by Samanta Ėringė, VMU alumni who graduated with a Bachelor’s major in Creative Industries.
Vilma Bijeikienė, VMU Vice-Rector for Communication, has no doubt that this position is particularly important and necessary for the implementation of the new University Strategic Plan for 2021-2027, which focuses on the mobilisation, hearing out and well-being of the VMU community.
“We are still underestimating the important role that alumni can and should play in the university’s community, and we are not yet finding ways to the greater collaboration. The new position has difficult and strategically important tasks: to initiate, coordinate and support the faculties in the implementation of activities that create and maintain connection with alumni, to offer mutually beneficial opportunities to alumni, to collaborate with the university and to develop ambassadorship,” says Vice-Rector V. Bijeikienė, adding that we all need to work together in order to achieve good results, and that the new coordinator will need the support and goodwill of all faculties and departments of the University.
We invite you to meet the new VMU Alumni Coordinator, Samantha Ėringė, and find out about her work and goals, her personal experiences and the importance of alumni at the University.
Samanta, what are some of your own experiences that can help you in your work as an alumni coordinator?
I became a graduate two years ago and then began my winding journey towards my dream career and job. It all seemed simple, but in fact it was complicated. However, I took away information and experiences from the whole process that I can now share with others and facilitate the journey of current and future graduates.
I graduated from Vytautas Magnus University with a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Industries and completed the Entrepreneurship Academy’s supplementary study programme. The broad spectrum of the specialty and the values of the university and the opportunities given to me during the period of my studies have not only given me knowledge and a professional degree but have also brought me up and matured me as a creative, honest, and free person. In 2020, I became a co-founder of a coffee business. We started the business from the very beginning, with a lot of questions but very few answers, which we sought directly through experience. In this job, I learned how to plan my time, create services and products, manage finances, and also gained a lot of experience in marketing and communication. I think that these skills will be an integral part of my work as the Alumni Coordinator.
As VMU Alumni Coordinator, what are your goals in this job?
One of the main goals is to bring together a free, adventurous, and experience-sharing alumni community. To develop, improve, and communicate in a clear manner the benefits and services that the University can provide to alumni. One of the newest tools for alumni is the “VMU Identity” card, which will allow students to keep in touch with the university after the graduation and foster a sense of community. The next milestone is with the “VMU Alumni Club”, whose mission is to connect people who have studied at the university and maintain a close relationship with the university. The main tasks, that I have set to myself in relation to the VMU Alumni Club are to intensify communication between the club and student communities and to develop connection with alumni from different faculties of VMU, thereby creating a united community that will represent VMU not only in Lithuania but also abroad.
What are your main areas of activity?
My position is dedicated to coordinating, organising, and carrying out a wide range of activities related to VMU alumni and their communities and associations.
Why do you think it is important for the university to focus more on graduates and their integration into the university?
VMU alumni are an integral part of the university community. VMU alumni not only know the university, its culture, organisation of studies, but also have a wide range of professional experience. It is very important for VMU alumni to be more actively involved in the university’s community and in the university’s structural management bodies. And to put it simply but accurately – it is always a good thing when former students do not lose touch with their university and return to it in a different “amplua”, joining the community and working unitedly to promote and foster the university.
As a graduate of VMU yourself what is your opinion: should a graduate continue to participate in the life of the university after graduation? What could this type of participation bring to both the university and the graduate?
They should, but only if one wants to. And to make sure that they want to and find value in it, my colleagues at the university and I are ready to work consistently. In my experience, it can be very difficult to get a foothold after graduation and to find the answers to both technical and professional questions. It is in this situation that the VMU alumni community could be of great value in providing answers, support, and encouragement. The value that a university can create for an alumnus is first and foremost education, the creation of the right conditions and incentives for lifelong learning, a space for collaboration and the opportunity to not only participate in the various activities of the VMU, but also to be involved in organising them, thus adding value to the university and to themselves. For the graduate, for the university, it is about feedback, community, representation and representation of the university, continuous growth.
If you are a graduate of VMU who is interested in communicating and collaborating with VMU, please contact VMU Alumni Coordinator Samanta Ėringė.