Student Alumni Network message regarding COVID-19

Posted on Mar 13, 2020 in Campus News and News

On Thursday, March 12, Heath Peterson, d’04, g’09, KU Alumni Association President and Megan McGinnis, Assistant Director of Student Programs, shared the following message with Student Alumni Network members.

Dear Students,

Our thoughts go out to all who have been affected by the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19). In coordination with the University’s decision to conduct classes online, we will cancel all Student Alumni Network events for the next 60 days to further protect our Jayhawk community. These include the Mocktails & Mingle for Architecture on March 18, Wine & Wax on March 19, and Big Jay’s Recess on April 2.

In addition to continuing your classes online, you can stay connected to Jayhawk alumni through KU Mentoring.

Please do all you can to remain healthy and safe. Watkins Health Services offers helpful guidance for reducing your risks and taking steps if you experience symptoms.

Your well-being remains our top priority during this challenging time.

Heath Peterson, d’04, g’09
KU Alumni Association President

Megan McGinnis
Assistant Director of Student Programs

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KU’s Student Alumni Network expands Restaurant Partner Program

Posted on Aug 29, 2019 in Campus News and News

Students at Home Football Friday sponsored by Truity Credit Union | Restaurant Partner Program
Eight Lawrence restaurants will participate in the KU Alumni Association’s Student Alumni Network Restaurant Partner Program, which offers students a variety of food selections for network events and activities throughout the academic year. The restaurants featured in the program are the exclusive provider in each cuisine category.

Returning as partners for the third consecutive year are Bigg’s BBQ (barbecue), Hot Box Cookies (dessert), Jefferson’s Restaurant (burgers and wings), McAlister’s Deli (sandwiches), Papa Keno’s Pizzeria (pizza) and Salty Iguana (Mexican). Hy-Vee supermarkets, with two locations in Lawrence, return for the second consecutive year as the exclusive grocery store partner. New this year is Merchants Pub & Plate, which is the official farm-to-table food provider. Students also will be able to win gift cards and receive discounts, special offers and giveaways from each of the restaurant partners at Student Alumni Network events and through the network’s social media channels.

Since its inception in 2017, the Restaurant Partner Program has helped increase membership in the Student Alumni Network from 1,400 students to nearly 6,000 this year, making it the largest student alumni organization on campus and in the Big 12 Conference. The program is one of many benefits offered to SAN members, along with access to the Jayhawk Career Network, which includes an online mentoring platform and networking events; discounts with local and national businesses; a free mobile app; and other exclusive gifts. Membership in SAN is free for all KU undergraduate and graduate students, thanks to funding provided by the Alumni Association and KU Endowment.

“We are incredibly grateful for the continuous support of our current restaurant partners, and we welcome the addition of Merchants Pub & Plate as our newest food provider,” said Heath Peterson, d’04, g’09, Association president. “These partnerships have been invaluable in helping us strengthen our connection with KU students, and we’re excited to expand our range of programs, services and food offerings for Jayhawks this year.”

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Start your semester right with tips from SAN

Posted on Aug 19, 2019 in Campus News and News

New semester tips from KU Student Alumni Network

A new school year is here already, and with it comes a fresh start and new classes. Here are some tips for KU Student Alumni Network members to get your semester off to the right start.

Getting organized

Everyone says get organized; we’ll show you how to actually do it. Pick out a folder or a notebook for each class, but be prepared to switch it up to fit the class structure. Don’t just shove papers into your backpack, you might not see them again. If a professor publishes slides on Blackboard, find free printing on campus and take notes on the slides instead of writing down the info from the slides.

Textbook tips

Write down what textbooks each class asks for, and check prices at the KU Bookstore compared to online retailers. You can use the KU Bookstore’s comparison tool or do it yourself. And remember: keep your receipt if you buy from KU. You can return a textbook until September 16 with the receipt.

Master your schedule

We hope you spent some time optimizing your schedule for what works for you. Whatever you ended up with, let’s make it work. Set your schedule as your phone background for the first week. Leave extra time to get to classes if they are in unfamiliar buildings.

Most importantly, plan out your time between classes. Find some time to get to the library or wherever you study if you have a break, or swing by the Rec before it gets flooded. Don’t go home between every class; you might be tempted to stay there.

Get to know your classmates

Don’t worry if you don’t know many people in a class; chances are your peers don’t either. Use the first week to talk with people sitting around you. It might come in handy when you need to pick partners for a group project, study for a test, or catch up after a missed class.

Office hours

Everyone tells you to take advantage of them, but do us a favor and do it right. You don’t have to parade in at the first possible opportunity with no plan. If you’re going to use your professor’s time, make it count. Start by introducing yourself after class on the first day to put a name to a face, and come in later with a real question about the class, or even better, the material. Showing a genuine interest in learning the concepts is the best way to stand out.

We hope this tips help you get your semester off to a great start! Have tips to add? Let us know at

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Alumni Association renews partnership with Best Western Plus West Lawrence hotel

Posted on Jun 26, 2019 in Campus News and News

Jayhawk trailer
For the second consecutive year, Best Western Plus West Lawrence, one of six hotel properties in the Wichita-based Hospitality Development of America portfolio, has partnered with the University of Kansas Alumni Association. The hotel, which opened in fall 2018, is adjacent to the Rock Chalk Park complex in west Lawrence and will serve as a presenting sponsor and exclusive hotel partner of KU’s 107th Homecoming, Oct. 19-26.

Best Western Plus West LawrenceBest Western Plus West Lawrence logo also will support the Student Alumni Network and the Alumni Association’s legacy student recruitment receptions for students and parents when they visit campus this year. In addition, the hotel will provide silent auction donations for two of the Association’s largest annual fundraising events, the Rock Chalk Ball in Kansas City and the Jayhawk Roundup in Wichita, and will offer Association members an exclusive discount on hotel stays.

“Homecoming is one of KU’s greatest traditions for students and alumni, and we’re thrilled to receive support from Best Western Plus West Lawrence to make this year’s celebration the best in years,” said Heath Peterson, KU Alumni Association president. “Thanks to this partnership, the Alumni Association also will continue to provide a host of programs and services for Jayhawks on the Hill and beyond.”

“As a proud KU alumnus, I fully understand the value of working with the KU Alumni Association to showcase our Lawrence hotel property to alumni, donors, parents and fans. The Association provides creative avenues to market our hotel with our investment going directly to supporting alumni and student programs. We are excited for Best Western Plus West Lawrence to be Jayhawks’ ‘home’ when they are in town to celebrate the great tradition of KU Homecoming,” said Steve Martens, c’75, CEO of The Martens Companies and its hotel development and management subsidiaries. Martens also is a Life Member of the Alumni Association and a Presidents Club donor.

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Students, alumni describe how one Jayhawk connection helped them succeed

Posted on May 1, 2019 in Campus News and News

Sun rising on the KU campus | one Jayhawk connection

The importance of giving back. How a chance to meet with professionals can jumpstart a career. And a friendship that naturally developed into a mentorship.

In a video that premiered at the 2019 Rock Chalk Ball, students and alumni shared stories of how one Jayhawk connection changed their world.

“It’s strength in numbers. The more people we have engaged in the Jayhawk Career Network in Kansas City will help everybody network,” says Jason Booker, d’99. “It’s helped me in my career in KC, and there are lots of people who would benefit from the same opportunity to connect and work together.”


Six Jayhawks describe how mentoring and making connections have helped them succeed. 

These stories are just a few of the many made possible through the Jayhawk Career Network, which gives students and alumni access to career resources, jobs, events, programming and connections at every stage of their career. Services include KU Mentoring, a job board, informational articles and more. For more information about the Jayhawk Career Network, contact Kristi Laclé, assistant vice president of the Jayhawk Career Network, at

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Cleared for Lunch: ‘Free Food at KU’ then and now

Posted on Mar 5, 2019 in Campus News and News

Kristopher Velasco | Free Food Finder and @freefoodatku
For years, University of Kansas students have used a Twitter account to find a slice of pizza here or a hot dog there.

Kristopher Velasco’s idea for getting the word out about free food turned into a staple for student-campus synergy. Students got the free food they wanted, and campus organizations got students to their events—all thanks to the succinctly named @FreeFoodAtKU account.

“When I was at KU, I spent nearly all of my time in the Union, and I saw so many events offering free food,” Velasco, c’13, said. “Over time, I became convinced that you could probably get free food every single day on campus if you just knew where to look. And as a poor college student, I knew that there were a lot of students out there like myself who would love to have this information.”

Love at First Bite

Soon after the first tweet, Velasco realized it wouldn’t have to be a one-man show.

“At first, I thought the account would primarily be successful because everyone loves free food,” he said. “I knew students would be interested in knowing about giveaways, whether it be pizza from the Dole Institute of Politics, hot dogs from the Alumni Association, or tea and cookies from SUA.

“What I didn’t expect was the support the account got from those giving out free food. As the account grew, organizations or departments holding events with free food would tweet at the account, hoping it would be shared and increase attendance to whatever they were promoting. That really helped the account take off because I became aware of so many more opportunities for free food. Even random students would tweet at the account letting us know about opportunities. It quickly felt like this was a tool everyone could benefit from, with students wanting food and organizers wanting students.”

As the man behind the curtain, Velasco faced a choice about revealing his identity.

“It was generally a secret. People close to me knew who was behind the account, but not a lot of people knew at first,” he said. “As the account became more prominent, though, and I would run into people I never met before talking about it, I would start to divulge. So over time it became well known who was behind it.”

Today, Velasco is a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin working on a PhD in sociology. (No word yet on the quality of free food at UT.)

Free Food today

@FreeFoodAtKU is still active on Twitter today, tipping off students to campus events with giveaways. With food insecurity a growing issue, more options are now available for the campus community. The Campus Cupboard, a grocery store-style resource organized by the Center for Community Outreach, is open to anyone in need.

This year, the Student Alumni Network introduced the Free Food Finder. The calendar feed sends a push notification to students’ phones when there’s a bite to eat available. The Free Food Finder is available to all students at and in the KU Alumni app.

Free Food Finder

Students, to find free food resources on campus, follow these steps:

  • Download the KU Alumni app.
  • Enable push notifications. We promise we won’t blast you with too many!
  • Register. Just tap “Register,”and enter your name and student ID number.
  • After you register, you’ll see a tile in the app called “Free Food,” which features a calendar that includes upcoming opportunities to find free food!

If your campus event offers free food and you want to include it on the app’s Free Food Finder, fill out our submission form. Events are added to the Student Alumni Network’s Free Food Finder calendar and promoted to KU Student Alumni Network members through email and push notifications. Only campus entities and KU Alumni partners are allowed to submit events for promotion. The KU Alumni Association reserves the right to decline submissions that don’t fit or align with our mission.

—Ryan Camenzind

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Annual SAN Finals Dinner a smashing success

Posted on Dec 12, 2018 in Campus News and News

With masses of students milling outside the Adams Alumni Center at 5:15 p.m. Monday, Dec. 10—15 minutes before Finals Dinner was scheduled to begin—Ally Stanton, director of student programs, opened the doors at 1266 Oread Ave. and welcomed the crowd inside.

“The food was ready,” she said, “so why not?”

Within minutes, students were flashing their cell phones to show their Student Alumni Network membership cards—or downloading the KU Alumni app to activate their memberships—and dashing upstairs to feast on a scrumptious barbecue meal provided by Bigg’s BBQ.

During the two-hour event, students were also treated to 15-minute aromatherapy massages and were invited to visit with therapy dogs John Wayne, Siena and Layla, who were stationed in the lobby, where they shamelessly flopped over for belly rubs. Students also received snack bags provided by HyVee and Jayhawk bag tags, which enable students to receive prizes when worn on campus.

Gwendolyn Sibley, a Garnett junior who’s majoring in English and rhetoric, arrived at the center for the free food but was delighted to discover therapy dogs were on site. “I’m so happy they’re here,” she said. “I’m allergic, but I can pet them for like five minutes.”

The annual tradition continues to grow in popularity, and Stanton, j’10, g’12, estimates that nearly 600 students attended this year’s event. “We host so many events throughout the year, all of which feature free food, but there is something special about Finals Dinner,” she said. “We simply want students to enjoy dinner with other Jayhawks and to be able to take away the planning of one meal during a hectic and oftentimes stressful week. It’s the simplicity of giving students a space to take a breath, recharge and refuel.”

Students are also encouraged to stop by the Adams Alumni Center from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. during finals week for a quiet space to study. Free coffee and a snack bar will be provided by HyVee.

—Heather Biele

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KU Alumni Association’s Student Alumni Network announces partnership with seven local restaurants

Posted on Sep 10, 2018 in Campus News and News

Student Alumni Network restaurant program

Seven Lawrence restaurants will participate in the KU Alumni Association’s Student Alumni Network Restaurant Partner Program, which offers students a variety of food selections for network events throughout the academic year. The restaurants featured in the program are the exclusive provider in each cuisine category.

Returning as partners for the second consecutive year are Bigg’s BBQ (barbecue), Hot Box Cookies (dessert), Jefferson’s Restaurant (burgers and wings), McAlister’s Deli (sandwiches), Papa Keno’s Pizzeria (pizza) and The Salty Iguana (Mexican).

New this year is the addition of Hy-Vee supermarkets, with two locations in Lawrence, which will serve as the official grocery store partner.

Students also will be able to win gift cards and receive discounts, special offers and giveaways from each of the restaurant partners at Student Alumni Network events and through the network’s social media channels.

The Restaurant Partner Program is one of many benefits offered to KU students in the Student Alumni Network, the largest student organization on campus. Other benefits include access to the Jayhawk Career Network, which includes an online mentoring platform and networking events; free food at student events; discounts with local and national businesses; a free mobile app; and other exclusive gifts.

Membership in the Student Alumni Network is free for all KU undergraduate and graduate students, thanks to funding provided by the Alumni Association and KU Endowment.

“We are thrilled to have the support of these popular Lawrence businesses,” said Heath Peterson, Association president. “Thanks to these partnerships, KU students will receive more programs, benefits and opportunities throughout the school year, as well as delicious food at many Student Alumni Network events.”

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Jayhawks will honor their “Home on the Hill” for 2018 Homecoming

Posted on Feb 27, 2018 in Campus News and News

University of Kansas selects

Far above the golden valley, the University of Kansas will celebrate its “Home on the Hill” as the theme for the 2018 Homecoming celebration. KU’s 106th Homecoming begins Sunday, Sept. 23rd and culminates in the KU football game against Oklahoma State on Saturday, Sept. 29.

The theme is selected by the KU Alumni Association and the student-led Homecoming Steering Committee. Ally Stanton, director of student programs, and Keon Stowers, assistant director of student programs, will coordinate the week’s events with the five-member committee.

Students on the steering committee include:

Parade chairs:

Allyson Bellner, a sophomore majoring in Biology

Ashley Dunn, a junior majoring in communication studies

Outreach chairs:

Logan Hotz, a junior majoring in mathematics and economics

Mary Claire McLaughlin, a junior majoring in mechanical engineering and business administration

Rebecca Seldin, a junior majoring in strategic communication

As Homecoming preparations continue, the Alumni Association will post details about specific events at Jayhawks also can follow the Alumni Association on Facebook and Twitter.

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Hawk Link Alumni Lunch connects Jayhawks in KC

Posted on Feb 21, 2018 in Campus News and News

Hawk Link alumni lunch

The Student Alumni Network recently partnered with Hawk Link to hold the first Hawk Link Alumni Lunch. The goal was to connect at-risk students with potential mentors from the vast network of KU alumni.

Hawk Link, a program based out of the Office of Multicultural Affairs, supports students of color, queer students and undocumented students while they navigate their first two years on campus. “It’s building on the components of what students need while they’re here and how we can set them up to be successful into the future,” said Jordan Brandt, academic advisor in the Office of Multicultural Affairs.

One of their programs, Study in the States, takes students to different cities to explore historical sites that tie in with their curriculum. A recent field trip to the American Jazz Museum in Kansas City brought a unique opportunity for Hawk Link students to connect with members of the Black Alumni Network in the area.

“It just made sense to invite the Alumni Association on our Study in the States trip,” said Brandt. “Students were already engaging with faculty, staff, and peers through Hawk Link but we were lacking an alumni piece. It’s great having folks who care about the population of students that we serve and want to invest in them.”

“I first learned about OMA through a tour with KU,” said Camille Moore, a freshman studying pre-med. “Through the Hawk Link program, we all live in Oliver on the third floor and have all gotten close with one another. I learned a lot talking to alumni about how to get through the process of college, and I now have the chance to reach out to them in the future.”

Jeainnie Brown, b’94, enjoyed the opportunity to both give back to students of color and connect with black alumni. Luke Bobo, Ph.D, e’82, was effusive in his praise for the students and their poise.

“The young people I interacted with are bright, articulate and aware,” Bobo said. “I look forward to these students making their mark on the KU community and I also look forward to them making a mark on our society-at-large.”

The Student Alumni Network is expanding its on campus reach with both KU and student organizations by offering usage of the Adams Alumni Center and helping connect students, alumni, and the Lawrence community. SAN’s other on-campus partnerships include a ‘trunk-or-treat’ for Lawrence area children with the Student Involvement and Leadership Center, and Big Jay’s Recess, an upcoming event with the Office of Multicultural Affairs and SILC.

Hawk Link alumni lunch group picture

To learn more about the Student Alumni Network and to see upcoming events, follow them on Facebook, Twitter, or visit the website.

-Ryan Camenzind

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