One year ago, in August 2014, Kathy Russell SOC/BA '04 made a trip back to AU's campus that would spark a new connection with the university. It was AU's annual Welcome Week, the time when incoming students make their way to campus to move into their residence halls, say one last goodbye to parents and family, and begin their collegiate careers. Kathy was on-hand to volunteer for the Black Alumni Alliance (BAA) Student-Alumni welcome event.
"I met a lot of young students who were eager to start their AU journey, and I could just see how excited they were to be able to speak with someone who looked like them and learn more about our AU experiences," said Russell.
"I consider this event the turning point for me- I decided that I could do more than just participate;I could volunteer."
It is a pledge that Kathy has worked to make good on. Currently, she is the future alumni outreach chair for BAA, serving as a liaison between current students and black alumni. Additionally, she serves a co-chair for the All-Alumni Kickoff party during All-American Weekend. Kathy is actively engaged in both roles while also working fulltime at St. Albans School in Washington D.C., where she serves as assistant director of communications.
"There are specific people that I can recall from my days at AU that helped me navigate my way through college," says Kathy. "I am grateful that I am in a position where I can give back to current students by being an active alum."
Getting involved with AU is nothing new to this Atlanta, Ga native. During her time as a student, Kathy was an active member of the Black Students Alliance, Alpha Kappa Psi Business Fraternity, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, and served as president of the university's chapter of the National Pan-Hellenic Council. Additionally, she found time to volunteer at local organizations like Martha's Table, So Others Might Eat (SOME), and D.C. Reads.
For those who know Kathy, there is no question about her love for American University. In true Eagle form, she has inspired some of her fellow classmates to get involved and always encourages alumni to reconnect with the university. She is on a mission to inform current students, and alumni, that their connection to AU does not end once they graduate.
"There's strength in numbers, so if you're local, and I know you, expect to hear from me about ways that you can get involved!"