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ASU Alumni Association launches new personal development series

March 01, 2021

The ASU Alumni Association is dedicated to creating programs and opportunities for alumni to learn and grow while also supporting and highlighting fellow Sun Devils. That’s why the association, with the help of presenting sponsor, Liberty Mutual, recently launched a personal development series of programs and workshops focused on finance, food and fitness to help Sun Devils.

ASU Alumni Association’s Vice President Alissa Serignese said that in a recent survey, alums ranked their interests based on what is most important to them and these three areas topped the list.

“Sun Devils want to be healthy," she said. "We want to thrive physically, mentally and financially.” 

Through these virtual workshops, alumni can learn more about being financially successful, healthy and fit while engaging with the university and other alums. ASU has a strong network of alums who are experts and business owners in these three areas and can help educate and support their fellow Sun Devils.  

“We hope to see alums connect to their alma mater and stay engaged,” Serignese said. “Nothing is better than Sun Devils connecting with other Sun Devils.”

One alumna who is a financial guru is Emily Schwartz, who holds a master's degree and PhD in music education, and is assistant vice president and financial education manager at MidFirst Bank. MidFirst is the exclusive strategic banking partner of ASU and provides many services, resources and support to the university. In 2012, MidFirst launched MoneyMoments at ASU — a program that started off as a few workshops for select student groups and has grown into a widespread financial education program. Their new series for ASU is called Making Smart Money Moves.

“I see this new (Making Smart Money Moves) series as a further expansion of MoneyMoments resources, and I’m beyond excited to meet Sun Devil alumni from across the country,” Schwartz said.

To MidFirst, the series was the perfect opportunity to further their commitment to helping Sun Devils reach their financial goals. During the Making Smart Money Moves sessions, Schwartz shares her advice for alums to reach their financial goals. 

“MidFirst’s commitment to ASU students doesn’t end at graduation; we want them to thrive in every aspect of their lives including their finances,” she said. 

Some topics covered in the series include avoiding and managing debt, budgeting and saving. Schwartz and MidFirst Bank recognize that each Sun Devil may define financial success differently. 

“No matter what financial goals you might have, MidFirst Bank, the MoneyMoments program (and the Making Smart Money Moves series) want to help you achieve them.”

Attendees of Schwartz’s sessions are guaranteed to leave with plenty of advice, but they will also feel a sense of community. 

“Money can feel like a very lonely thing,” she said, “especially if we’re struggling and feel like we are the only ones with that particular problem.”

Through Making Smart Money Moves, Sun Devils who share the goal of making financial improvements in their lives can attend virtually and learn together.

There are plenty of sessions for Sun Devils to learn more about fitness and food, as well. In January, ASU alum and GROOV3 dance instructor, Saza Kent, who holds a bachelor's degree in dance education and a master's degree in dance, led a fitness class. Attendees joined the class virtually and learned more about how to have fun while staying fit.

The Alumni Association also hosts a series called #FoodieFriday where every other month, a Sun Devil-owned or -operated restaurant is highlighted. Participants can meet the alum behind the business and learn how to make a recipe from the restaurant menu. The first #FoodieFriday was hosted by Sasha Bayat, a bachelor's degree in nutrition alumna, who is the owner of The Bodhi. The next session will feature Tim Vasquez, a bachelor's degree in communication alumnus, who is the owner of Someburros.

Register for the next Making Smart Money Moves session on March 9, and join the March 19 #FoodieFriday.

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