Editor’s Note: Christa Rahl is a former employee for The Daily Nebraskan. 

As part of our Curious Cornhuskers initiative, senior journalism major Christa Rahl asked The Daily Nebraskan, “Online it says seniors will be given a free year of being in the Nebraska Alumni Association. What does that mean? What are those benefits?”

The Nebraska Alumni Association is giving all May 2020 graduates the opportunity to claim one free year of membership after graduation due to the coronavirus.

Typically, graduates may purchase a lifetime membership option or a $20 annual membership fee for the first three years after they graduate. According to Jeff Sheldon, senior director of communications and marketing at the Nebraska Alumni Association, the association is reducing the membership cost for graduates who choose to become a member for three years.  

Their first year of membership will be free, and they will have the option to renew it for the typical $20 rate per year for the next two years. 2020 graduates can claim their membership through the Nebraska Alumni Association’s online form.

“We wanted our newest class of alumni to know that they’re going to be remembered as a unique class in the university’s history, and they’re just as important of a class as anyone else,” Sheldon said. 

According to Sheldon, the Nebraska Alumni Association came up with the idea to offer a free year of membership when they were discussing ways to serve the students who will be graduating this semester.

“We know that a lot of graduating seniors are going to feel a little discouraged with how their college days ended prematurely, and they’re not going to get the chance to do a lot of the things that most other classes have been able to do,” he said. 

The association can help alumni navigate questions they may have regarding the next steps to take for their careers. According to Sheldon, one example of this is a free online networking and professional development program called Husker Connect. 

The Nebraska Alumni Association also holds professional networking events around the country, sends out magazines and e-newsletters, provides some hotel and restaurant discounts and holds booster events before big Husker athletics events, according to Sheldon.

University global initiatives specialist and 2019 UNL graduate Raghav Kidambi believes some of the greatest benefits of membership are discounts from a variety of businesses such as Honda of Lincoln and different travel services. 

“Our mission is to engage and energize alumni no matter where they are by connecting them to campus and each other,” he said. “To lift up Huskers past, present and future, and also to support the university.”

Kidambi has been a member of the Nebraska Alumni Association for about a year and thinks it will be a benefit to the May 2020 graduates because he has used his membership often.

“It is very useful, especially when it comes to certain things you might utilize when you get out of college,” he said.

Furthermore, Sheldon said the Nebraska Alumni Association is in the planning stages of some events coming up this fall that will be targeted toward the class of May 2020. 

By offering the membership discount, Sheldon wants May 2020 graduates to know that Nebraska alumni all around the world are proud of them and recognize the hard work they’ve put in to earn their degrees.

“Nebraska alumni all around the world are ready to welcome them into the next chapter of their lives,” he said.