Why the Alumni Association? Ilana Black, '12, Answers

Why the Alumni Association? Ilana Black, '12, Answers

Ilana Black is like most Michigan alumni. She has an intense pride for her alma mater. She’s dedicated, motivated, and friendly. And she uses the Alumni Association to stay connected, give back, and explore her passions. 

Ilana Black,’12 (center), with fellow board members Sarah Stevens, ’09 and Patty Theokas, ’08.

I talked with the life member and marketing chair for the U of M Club of Greater Chicago about why the Association plays an important part in her post-grad life. 

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It was easy to get involved. 

“When I moved to Chicago after graduation in 2012, I instantly started getting emails from the club and started going to events. The following April they were looking for new board members. I knew I was young-I just graduated a year ago. But I went for it, and I was lucky enough to be selected.”

Ilana has decided to continue increasing her involvement, becoming the marketing chair in 2014. The young alumna enjoys working with fellow graduates. 

It is a chance to give back. 

 In addition to her work as marketing chair, she is also an ASR (Alumni Student Recruiter) and part of the Big 10 Consortium. 

“I kind of made this like my second job, which I love. It is a way for me to give back to the institution that has given so much to me.”

Ilana with her AAUM President’s Award. 

It connects you back to the place you once called home. 

“In my mind, the whole purpose of the club is to bring Ann Arbor to Chicago. I don’t think I’ve ever met a group of alumni who are so passionate. The whole point is to make people feel a connection back to Ann Arbor even though they are hundreds of miles away. It brings me such a sense of joy to be a part of that and be able to extend that to other people.”

You can use your interests to help alumni. 

Ilana is a self-confessed “social media addict,” which helps her as marketing chair. 

“The first social media contest we did was for Northwestern football tickets. We asked ‘What is your favorite football memory?’ The conversation that started outside of the contest really served to bring an alumni community together online, which is exactly what we are trying to do.”

Find Your Local Club

You can learn by being involved.

“It’s something I have outside of work that gives me an opportunity to expand and do other types of projects, and meet other types of people.”

Ilana works as marketer professionally as well, but she recently has started planning events for the club. 

The Bottom Line. 

“We are here to provide a community, to create a space for people to network and show their pride for the institution that has given them so much. I know I want to still be involved with Michigan, and the Alumni Association has given me so many opportunities to do so.”


What keeps you passionate about U-M? Let us know in the comments!


Michigan Alumnus is made possible through the generous support of Alumni Association members. Join today to help sustain the future of Michigan Alumnus and other alumni programs. Visit umalumni.com/support.