UNB Alumni
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Reflections from past-president: Brooke Yeates

Author: Young Alumni

Posted on Aug 29, 2017

Category: UNB Fredericton , UNB Saint John

Brooke Yeates, BA '95, Associated Alumni Past-President          (Rob Blanchard Photo UNB) 

Brooke Yeates served on alumni council for eight years, before taking on the president's role in 2015. During her term as president, several new initiatives were implemented including new governance processes, the launch of our U35 Young Alumni Network and the introduction of UNB Talks, an event series highlighting research and innovation at UNB. Her term also coincided with #ItBeginsHere, UNB's most ambitious fundraising campaign. As her term concludes and she begins a new chapter as alumni representative on UNB's Board of Governors, Brooke reflects on the past two years as president.

What did you enjoy most about your time as president of the Associated Alumni?

I’m the first in my immediate family to attend university so it was an especially proud – and somewhat surreal – moment when I stepped into the president role after previously serving on Alumni Council. I particularly enjoyed the one-on-one connections I made with fellow alumni, hearing how their paths led to UNB and how much they valued that experience. Everyone has their own story yet we share many experiences, and our pride, in common.

Was there a particular event/meeting/introduction that sticks out in your mind?

I felt very fortunate to have the opportunity to attend UNB alumni events across Canada and even in the US, as well as Trinidad & Tobago. Each was memorable and it was nice to reconnect with alumni who I met during the first year of my term when I returned in ‘year two’. One event that was really special was the Cold War Tour organized by the Ottawa Alumni chapter. Why was that so special? We had alumni representing a range of graduating years, ages and backgrounds in attendance, many of whom came solo because of their UNB connection and interest in the topic – not everyone is comfortable doing that. I remember looking back in the bus near the end of the event and noticing everyone was seated in a different spot from before because they had connected with one another in a new way, during the event – older and younger, different faculties and interests – each sharing their piece of UNB with the other. One of whom was Hans Foerstel from the Class of  '59, who dressed in a past Homecoming t-shirt with bold UNB across the front – it was easy to imagine him years ago when he was at UNB.

What is your hope for our alumni and university going forward?

I hope that we continue to be more bold and vocal about who we are as UNB alumni, the positive ways we are impacting and influencing our world and why we so cherish being ProudlyUNB. This needs to happen through continued branding and promotion of who we are and why future alumni should come to UNB.

What would you tell fellow alumni is most rewarding about getting involved? 

My experience as president was different from those of my predecessors due in large part to the fact that I live outside of the province in Ontario. So that required a lot of planning ahead and organization to try to maintain balance. That said, I’ve always said that I get a lot of good energy through my involvement with UNB. As a UNB alumna and New Brunswicker, I am grateful to be able to contribute to the growth of my alma mater and home province at a time when both are in need of strong voices and support. So for alumni closer to the Fredericton and Saint John campuses, or with chapters in their location, I’d tell them to take advantage of the opportunity to engage. And for those who live “away”, I’d point to my experience: you can contribute in many ways regardless of distance, and the personal rewards will be just as great.