By Benjamin Bosler
Alumni Communications Intern

University of Arkansas alumna recalls her time as a student leader on campus and how life has been after graduation.

Nikki Anderson, who served as the 2018 Student Alumni Board president, 2017 Homecoming Director, and became a member of the Dean’s Student Leader Advisory Committee, was awarded the 2019 CASE ASAP Network Award for Outstanding Student Leader.

The award recognizes students who significantly improve the organization by inspiring growth, cultivating collaboration, and developing meaningful relationships.

The young alumna said her first reaction was to message the executive board she worked closely with on campus with the good news.

“Everything is such a group effort,” Anderson said, “so that was my first reaction.”

Anderson, a graduate student at the Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock, said the roles she held with campus organizations, such as the Student Alumni Association, have given her a different perspective on her post-graduation life.

“I think that those roles, from a logistic-based sense, gave me a good idea of how to plan and handle things on a larger scale,” Anderson said, “which has been useful in managing course loads at grad school and volunteering with the different things that I am involved with here in Little Rock.”

Since moving, Anderson said she has worked alongside political campaigns, one for U.S. Congress and the other for State House. Aside from politics, the young alumna has begun research with the Arkansas Department of Education to understand how community engagement benefits the public school system.

Anderson said her new experiences are exciting and that she enjoys finding her way in a new city, discovering places that make her feel as at home as she did with the alumni association. She has started to become her own individual and attributes that to her new territory.

Though she has moved, Anderson said she enjoys keeping those special connections to her alma mater and the best way to do so is having a life membership.

Anderson spent four years of her undergrad involved with the association. Her parents gave her life membership in the association as a graduation gift.

“If that was how much I got out of it in four short years as an undergraduate,” Anderson said, “who knows how much a life membership is going to benefit me in terms of the longevity of my profession.”

In terms of a more personal sense, Anderson said it means a great deal that she stay involved and continue to build up the community at the U of A.

Anderson said she enjoys connecting with other alums at chapter events and thinks the community aspect is one of the many perks of becoming a life member with the Alumni Association.

“People want to have that community and want to know and talk to people who have had similar life experiences,” Anderson said, “so it’s been fun to be able to connect with people back through that.”

For other young alums considering membership with the Alumni Association, Anderson said it’s 100% what you make of it. Non-traditional ways of staying involved with the university exist and Anderson suggests putting in as much effort as possible for the best possible outcome.

“If you want to put the time and effort in and you genuinely care about this institution that shaped you,” Anderson said, “then the people that you meet along the way, in terms of post-grad, are going to support you equally as much.”