Whether UGA graduates stay in Bulldog country or venture to the far corners of the states, they’re likely to find a community group sporting red and black and eager to socialize with a fellow Dawg.
“We strive to welcome new members, build lasting professional connections and friendships and keep the spirit of Athens alive,” says Valerie Elston, president of the D.C. Dawgs, one of the larger out-of-state alumni association chapters.
The UGA Alumni Association now has 39 alumni chapters, 53 clubs and 92 organizations established across the United States, with two international organizations in London and Germany. Chapters are formed in areas with at least 1,000 UGA grads, while clubs serve areas with at most 999 grads. Groups sponsor game-watching events, dinner clubs and holiday parties, among other things. Members of the D.C. Dawgs mentor UGA students participating In the Washington Semester Program.
Caroline Jones (AB ’05), membership coordinator; Christa Koubek (BBA ’01); Valerie Elston (AB ’04, ABJ ’04), president; and Robin Muthig (AB ’06), golf tournament coordinator, welcome D.C. Dawgs to Penn Quarter Sports Tavern for the UGA v. Central Michigan football game. Special photo
About three-fifths of the quarter-million UGA alumni live in Georgia, many served by the 22 in-state chapters and clubs. The Fulton County chapter is the association’s largest.
Outside of Georgia, the states with the most UGA alumni are Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina. In addition to D.C., larger out-of-state chapters are in New York, Chattanooga, upstate South Carolina and Charlotte.
In addition to socializing and networking, the chapters perform community service and fundraising activities. Some of the organizations they’ve helped are Relay for Life, Toys for Tots and the Salvation Army.
Alumni across the country participate in Paws Across America National Volunteer Day, in which association chapters and clubs take part in a local Habitat for Humanity project. Each fall, groups participate in the Dawgs Feeding Dogs Campaign, which collects and donates pet food to local no-kill animal shelters in honor of Uga. In 2008, more than 14,000 pounds of pet food were donated in honor of Uga VII. The Jacksonville, Fla., chapter has earned more than $6,300 through a local golf tournament, which they donated to the Alumni Association’s Endowed Scholarship Fund.
“Younger alumni appreciate the community service activities because at the university it’s easier to plug into those kinds of events and activities,” says Debbie Dietzler, executive director of the UGA Alumni Association. “When you move away, it’s harder to get involved.”
To learn more about the UGA Alumni Association or find a chapter or club in your area, go to www.alumni.uga.edu/alumni/programs.html.