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Radford alumna tackles alumni relations as her first job
By Jamie McCormick
Walking into the Office of Alumni Relations, located in Martin Hall, I am greeted by a very energetic woman with a bright smile. She leads me into her office just off to the right and I take in my surroundings.
Her desk is very neat and orderly, with just a few papers laid in front of her computer. She has sticky note reminders attached to her desktop and a large white board covering the left wall of the room with a few notes scribbled across its surface. There are very few decorations adorning the walls and surfaces of the room, yet it still seems very welcoming and comfortable. On the floor next to the bookcase in the right-hand corner of the room is a wrapped up framed diploma, no doubt waiting to be displayed proudly on one of the walls.
Haley Frazier immediately gives off a very friendly and easy-going vibe as we begin our interview. She has worked in the OAR since her sophomore year at Radford University, covering event planning and other public relations activities. Initially when she came to Radford she wanted to follow a career in broadcasting, hoping to become an anchorwoman. Due to a mistake in her schedule she ended up taking an Intro to Public Relations class instead of following the Media Studies curriculum, however she ended up enjoying PR a lot more than she thought. “It just kind of clicked,” Frazier explains, “and so ever since then I just stayed on that path. I think the thing I liked most about it is that it’s just all about being honest.”
She started off her PR career with an internship one summer in Harrisonburg with the Shenandoah Valley Partnership. There she learned a lot about economic development and different marketing tools that would help her later in her endeavors. She was able to participate in event set-ups as well as write a few profiles here and there for the organization.
When she first began working in the OAR she would interview and write about different alumni from Radford every week for Radford Connected. When it came to her senior year, she was applying for jobs when a position opened up in the office for a new coordinator for alumni engagement. She applied for the position and the day before her December 2015 graduation, she was told she had gotten the job.
The main focus of her new job was, as the title indicates, to coordinate and put together alumni events. For her specific territory she focuses on three main events: the Virginia Gold Cup, which will be hosted on May 7 in Warrenton, Virginia; the Radford Alumni & Friends Golf Tournament to be held in June; and Radford University Day held at Nationals Park on August 8. Besides these events she also partners with different campus organizations and departments, such as Admissions, Athletics, and Career Services, to bring alumni speakers to their events.
If a group of alumni contact the OAR with an interest in setting up an event, it is up to Frazier to decide to what extent they will help. If it is just a small gathering for a birthday party or something similar, they put together a “Party in a Box” filled with decorations and different party favors the alumni will enjoy. They also participate in “volunteer driven events”. These events include many alumni and volunteers coming together for a specific cause.
She recalls one event in particular that had just taken place the first weekend in April. A group of alumni who were members of Sigma Phi Epsilon on campus wanted to put together a “Day of Service” to honor the life of a brother who had passed away in 2012, John R. Signorello. Frazier was able to be part of the planning and organization of the event, where alumni as well as current brothers and other volunteers visited Mrs. Signorello and worked on their family farm in Leesburg. They all painted barns, cleaned out the pool, put fresh gravel on the driveway, and event fixed the fences, whatever they could do to help. In total Frazier said there were about 80 people who participated, which really made her appreciate what she does. “It’s things like that where you get to take a step back and you’re like ‘this is why it all matters’,” she says.
Her job isn’t just about planning, Frazier says. “I learn something new every single day,” she explains, “I’ve learned a lot of little life lessons too. I was so appreciative of [this job] because it did kind of teach me to grow up pretty quick and be more mature.”
Frazier has worked hard to get where she is today. When asked about what advice she would give to students about to enter the job world she has this to say: “Once you get your first job…stay true to who you really are. It can be really challenging and sometimes your morals or beliefs can be tested a little bit. Remember who you are and what you want to be and don’t let your frustrations get in the way of that.”