UK Alumni pool resources
Australia House jingled and boomed to the sounds of Christmas as the UK alumni celebrated Christmas with carols led by Felsted School's Chapel Choir. Warmed up with mulled wine and mince pies, all robustly sang many favourites including the Antipodean Six White Boomers. The Twelve Nights Of Christmas (Oz Style) was enthusiastically led, along with picture aids, by the chapter committee and friends. A brilliant night ended with Father Christmas dishing out Fruit Tingles to the little ones (and the not so little).
Graduates reunited in celebration is a wonderful example of the type of program offered by the Combined Chapters of South Australian Universities Alumni Associations in the United Kingdom.
The University of Adelaide Alumni Association UK Chapter was inaugurated on 27 August 2001, and under the guidance of Dr James Storer (BSc 1986) has been an active chapter of the Association. Dr Storer was also one of the driving forces behind a combined SA Universities' event in September 2003 which launched the UK Branches of the University of South Australia and Flinders University Alumni Associations. The event initiated the tripartite UK Chapter of the South Australian Universities Alumni.
"It was soon apparent to all involved with the organisation of this event that the only way forward for us in the UK was to pool our resources and energies into a single entity representing the alumni from the three South Australian universities," says Dr Geoff Turner, Chairman of the Combined Chapter.
The Chapter's Executive Committee is comprised of graduates from all three SA Universities. "We see ourselves as representing South Australian universities, not the particular university we may have attended: the bigger picture. This enables us as a group to draw on more people to attend events," said Dr Turner.
At the Annual Meeting of the Joint UK Chapter in 2004, Dr Turner reported that "the vital ingredient in the success of the combined chapter has been the unwavering support of the Agent-General for South Australia, Maurice de Rohan OBE. Maurice graciously accepted our invitation to be our Patron and through his support we have been able to start building a strong and viable organisation based in London."
Mr de Rohan (B Tech1960) says: "Our graduates are great ambassadors for South Australia and the universities they represent. The combined chapters alumni program demonstrates the quality and strength of our educational institutions in South Australia. It also reflects the goodwill of graduates who continue to support their alma mater in a variety of ways. I am pleased to be able to play a role in further developing this important link between our graduates and their universities in Adelaide."
The first year of the combined UK Chapter saw the emergence of a dedicated and enthusiastic group of alumni determined to develop opportunities for graduates of the South Australian universities, and their families and friends, to meet together at a range of social events.
Among the events offered by the combined chapter has been the wine tasting, enjoyed by over 140 alumni, held at Australia House with renowned South Australian sommelier Matthew Wilkin as the special guest, and the Carols evening held in December 2004, also at Australia House. Future plans include a football match against an English Australian Rules Team. ■
The Chapter is currently in contact with around 700 graduates. However, the number of graduates in the UK is estimated to run into the thousands. If you know someone who is living in the UK who might be interested in reconnecting with fellow graduates from South Australia, they can obtain further information by emailing email@example.com or by visiting the Development & Alumni website at www.adelaide.edu.au/alumni
Story Kim McBride