In October 2015, the UGA Alumni Association launched the UGA Black Alumni Affinity Group, which is led by the Black Alumni Leadership Council. The council seeks to connect with black alumni and students through shared experiences, and to continue building a welcoming and supporting campus community. Ambre Reed (BSFCS ’09), second from left in the above image, is a member of the Black Alumni Leadership Council, and we recently interviewed her to learn more about her UGA experience and what drives her to stay connected to the university.
When did you graduate from UGA and what did you do after college?
I graduated in December 2009 from the College of Family and Consumer Sciences with a degree in financial planning. Because I graduated in December, I knew I wanted to go to graduate school, so I worked in UGA’s Main Library as a library assistant. After that, I started [graduate school] at Georgia State’s Andrew Young School of Policy Studies to get my master’s in public administration, with a concentration in non-profit management. Today, I live in Washington D.C. and work at a non-profit organization called Year Up, a national organization that helps get low-income students into a training program for information technology and business, and helps them to get full-time jobs.
How did you get involved with the Alumni Association?
When I moved to Atlanta to attend Georgia State, I met an alumnus named Jay Bailey. He worked for a non-profit that I was involved in, and he was very involved in organizing black alumni. He actually helped start the Black Alumni Affinity Group Homecoming Tailgate at Myers Quad. Working with him and meeting alumni really gave me a chance to see other black alumni whom I hadn’t met. Another alumna, Brandi Decker- Hunter, managed a Black Alumni social media site, and asked that I assist in transitioning the group over to Facebook. From there, I managed the group, and it now has more than 3,000 members.
Which Black Alumni event are you most proud of?
The Homecoming Tailgate; I think that’s the event that’s grown the most and helped bring awareness to black alumni on a campus level, as well as with alumni. Working to build that event on Myers Quad is something that I’m super excited about.
How has serving on the Black Alumni Leadership Council benefited you?
Serving on the Black Alumni Leadership Council has shown me the power of community and the power of building a network. I always saw that there was a huge UGA network, but that didn’t necessarily include people who look like me. Finally meeting black alumni that look like me, and seeing that there are so many, has really benefitted me and showed me that while everyone may have a different experience, we’re still UGA.
What is the most important experience you learned as a student?
I learned that networking is super important while working with the NAACP. This became evident when I hosted a series of events called “A Call for Consciousness,” which focused on social justice issues. I asked a panelist to come to the event. This panelist later reached out to me with a paid internship offer because she remembered me from organizing the event series and thought I would be a great fit for her internship.
What is one piece of advice you would give to UGA students?
Don’t put yourself in a box. Be open to opportunities; don’t limit your definition of success to look like everyone else’s. Do what you love and find a way to do that even if it doesn’t appear possible.
UGA is committed to its students and mission as a land and sea grant university. What is your commitment?
My commitment is building and leveraging the community that is UGA. I can see that we have a strong community, even from miles away in Washington, D.C., so I’m committed to building and growing our community.