The Student Alumni Association was founded in 1976. Its first program, Campus Tours, ran from 1978 to 1983, when it was taken over by the Office of Admissions and Records. Student Ambassadors was started at that time to fill the role of Campus Tours in the Alumni Association.In 1979, SAA revitalized Homecoming, a tradition that was started at Illinois in 1910 but had become a low-key event by the late '60s. The success of that first revitalized Homecoming literally made SAA a viable and respected organization overnight. Illini Pride was also created by a number of SAA members as a result of 1979 Homecoming. The following successful programs were added over the succeeding years: Illinois Sights & Sounds (formerly Illini First Nite), Illini Comeback, Senior 100 Honorary and Graduates' Reception.In an effort to increase efficiency and maximize services, sister organizations Student Ambassadors and the Student Alumni Association became one again in the fall of 2004, creating Student Alumni Ambassadors. Today, SAA is a widely known student organization consisting of more than 85 members. SAA provides students with new leadership responsibilities such as planning, organizing and creating events for the entire student body. Through its hosting and tour services, SAA develops connections between students and alumni and instills pride in the University. The organization brings together a diverse group of students from all different areas of interests, majors and backgrounds to work together to make a difference at the University of Illinois through the Alumni Association.
Monica Milkint, President
English and Individual Plan of Study in Disability Studies, Business Minor
"SAA encourages me to be my best and to push boundaries. Every individual brings something different to the table and together we create a unique team. SAA supports each other to do things you never though could be possible. I love SAA for helping me become the person I am today."
Mary McDonald , Vice President of Membership
History, Political Science and Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies Minor
"I love that SAA offers a space to not only grow professionally but grow as yourself, as a leader and as a person. You have opportunities to evolve into who you are while helping your best friends grow as well, and you're able to move forward together while helping this amazing organization and university."
Ryan Salzeider, Vice President of Homecoming
Human Development and Family Studies
"My favorite part of SAA is the unique ability we have as members to grow professionally all while taking part in the oldest traditions our university has to offer."
Christen Massouras, Vice President of Communications
Marketing and Information Systems and Technology
"SAA truly made me feel at home at the University of Illinois. I have met life-long friends through this organization and have created memories that will forever define my college experience. SAA has shaped me into who I am today."
Nishanth Asokan, Vice President of Student Engagement
Molecular and Cellular Biology, Spanish Minor
"My favorite part of SAA is the people. After spending a summer apart, you realize in the fall how amazing the people in this organization truly are."
Brett Cohen, Vice President of Outreach
Molecular and Cellular Biology and Psychology
"My favorite memory is after the Homecoming Pep Rally, an alumni drove by the quad, stopped a few of us and asked how long that event had been happening. Mary McDonald promptly answered that Pep Rally has been happening for 106 years. It was such an awe-inspiring moment to realize how long our organization has been impacting and exciting the campus, and we are still drawing people in now!"
Marty Browne, Vice President of Alumni Relations
Political Science and Communication, Leadership Studies Minor
"SAA has really taken my college career and made it into an experience that I never would have thought was possible. From the countless leadership opportunities to the life-long friendships that I have made, I will look back on my college experience and remember everything SAA has done for me."
Christian Inciong, Vice President of Business and Operations
Supply Chain Management and Marketing, Spanish Minor
"I love being in SAA because there's so many ways to positively impact all sorts of people through incredible experiences and events."