Jason Dumont, SMPA BA ’07, Sacramento Chair shares his experience of starting an alumni chapter
How long have you been volunteering with GW?
Since spring 2016.
What made you decide to get involved and build up the Sacramento Alumni Network?
After moving from D.C. to Northern California in 2010, I attended several alumni events in the San Francisco Bay Area. I know how difficult it can be for alumni, especially those of us with young families, to attend weekend or evening events that are more than an hour drive away. Last year, after four years of conversations about increasing on-the-ground alumni engagement in the Sacramento area, I worked with Alumni Relations staff to launch our Alumni Network. The Sacramento region is home to more than 900 alumni who want to interact with GW, not just for development or professional purposes.
What has been the most rewarding part of your volunteer experience?
Meeting fellow alumni. I have realized that no matter the years we attended GW, or our connection to the university, there is a strong network of people who value what it means to be a Colonial. We are doctors, lawyers, civil servants, software programmers and community members.
How do you think creating a Sacramento Alumni Network has strengthened your connection back to GW as well as with your fellow alumni in the area?
I feel a stronger connection to GW because distance is not as much of a barrier now. When I meet a fellow alumnus, there is no awkwardness because we are all party of the same Colonial family. Everyone I meet has an #OnlyatGW story, remembers why they chose GW for higher education and wants the university and current students to continue thriving.
Do you have a favorite #OnlyatGW story involving an alumni connection in the area?
It does not get better than the annual Selby Winery event in Healdsburg, planned with our Network, Alumni Relations, GW School of Business, and the Bay Area Alumni Network. Susie’s passion for her business, positive energy and support for GW inspires me. President Knapp attended last year’s event shortly after announcing his retirement. I had the opportunity to meet him during my senior year (former President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg was my commencement speaker in 2007) and say that I attended one of his first on-campus events with alumni.
I met a fellow alumnus from the Sacramento area at Selby and he attended our kickoff event the next month.
My wife still cherishes the evening we drank Champagne at the French Embassy in 2009 for a GW alumni event focused on foreign policy. That was a major bucket list item for her.
Why is it important for alumni to be engaged and volunteer with the Sacramento Regional Alumni Network?
The Sacramento Regional Alumni Network relies on membership and interaction. Any help with planning events, sharing news and maintaining ongoing dialogue is welcome and will only help to make the network better. I am excited about the events and special opportunities coming this year.