When Creighton Dent ’06, M.A. ’10, moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2011, he knew only one person—his fiancée, Julia. A naturally gregarious guy eager to make this his home, he decided to reach out to local APU alumni, make some connections, and perhaps even locate a few old friends. This desire to rekindle relationships led to the establishment of the APU Bay Area Alumni Chapter in January 2013.
“Alumni chapters mean something different to everyone,” said Dent. “For some, it’s a look back at God’s hand on their life, a way to measure success and affirm choices. For others, it’s a sense of duty, giving back to those who poured into their life. Still others reconnect to become a part of the future, knowing that their involvement can help the next generation enjoy the same quality APU education they received.”
Regardless of what draws them, all those who join their local chapter reap tangible benefits. Many rely on the group to recommend quality products and services, knowing that involvement in the chapter broadens their scope of reliable experts. Alumni chapters also serve as fresh and trustworthy networking resources, and most chapters hold events specifically for that purpose. In fact, the Bay Area chapter hosted a Professionals Night Out last June, where members gathered for dinner, conversation, and a chance to trade business cards with other Christian professionals.
Beyond the obvious perks of these affiliations, membership also carries a more subtle and intrinsic value that resonates with graduates. “Chapter involvement gives people a way to support the mission and purpose of the university both on campus and in our own backyards,” Dent said. “Alumni chapters are about building and strengthening relationships and extending the God First philosophy wherever we go.”
Some chapters even mirror the traditions they came to love during their days on campus, making them new and relevant in their life beyond college. For instance, Dent and his Bay Area chapter plan to partner with the Center for Student Action in October to host a service day that coincides with APU’s City Links. While APU students work with their neighbors to spruce up towns in the Southland, their alumni counterparts in the Bay Area will do the same throughout San Mateo, San Francisco, and Oakland.
For those thinking about starting a chapter in their own neck of the woods, Dent has some sage advice. “Don’t try to do it alone,” he said. “Beginning a chapter is immeasurably valuable, but it also takes a lot of dedication and passion. Identify a few reliable people who can help you organize, plan, and communicate.”
Azusa Pacific sponsors nine chapters across the country, but many areas still need representation. The Office of Alumni and Parent Relations provides an invaluable resource to those looking to join or start a chapter. The best thing all alumni can do to help is update their contact information. Once the university loses contact with a graduate, it is difficult to reconnect. So put APU on the list of those to inform when you move, change jobs, or expand your family. The tight community and the people who became an integral part of your life’s story could be just around the corner. Join them again for the next chapter of your journey.