At the end of June, Sarah Stiles, the newest member of the Alumni Relations office, travelled to London to watch Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal compete at Wimbledon. But in the weeks leading up to the tournament, she still wasn’t sure which player she’d be rooting for. “It’s a tough call,” she said. “Nadal is very fun to watch but Federer is obviously excellent. Which do you choose, the show or the substance?” Fortunately for Denison alumni, they won’t ever have to make that choice with Stiles on their side. When it comes to alumni events, they can have both. And fortunately for Stiles, who clearly loves to travel, the new gig is a perfect fit.
In her new role as associate director of alumni relations, Stiles will be working with the clubs program, made up of regional Denison networks sprinkled across the country—32 in all from New York to San Francisco. She’ll help the groups market themselves through social media, and she’ll take charge of fall’s annual Big Red Weekend. There’s a lot on her plate, but it’s nothing for someone who, with only two weeks at Denison under her belt, was already helping with the 2011 Reunion Weekend.
“I did two reunions in three weeks,” said Stiles, who left her former position as assistant director for alumni relations at Ohio Wesleyan University in order to make the move to Denison. “I couldn’t leave before Reunion there, but I knew that I wanted to be here for Reunion, because it’s really one of the most special times on campus.
You don’t want to miss it.”
But Stiles won’t be focusing only on alumni. She also will be working with the Denison Club for Students. This group sponsors activities throughout the year to raise awareness of the alumni association among students, so that when they get ready to graduate the idea of staying connected to Denison—and fellow graduates—is not new. “We want to make sure that it’s a part of the student experience for everyone, from first-years to seniors.”
Many club members who have moved into the world beyond the hill, however, can expect a visit from Stiles durng her first year on the job. Although she often travels internationally when she has the chance (she cited Scotland as her favorite place, though seeing the pyramids in Egypt was a close second), Stiles has also traveled around the U.S.
With interests ranging from exploring her Columbus neighborhood to cooking Spanish cuisine to planning a recent trip to Germany (it’s the stop that comes after London but before Prague), Stiles knows that her job of traveling the country and meeting new people is well suited to her.
“It’s kind of marrying personal life and professional life into one happy girl!”—who, if we’re lucky, will make paella for the next Big Red Weekend in September.