The University of Georgia, which ranks among the top 20 public universities by U.S. News & World Report, has a student body of more than 34,000. While many students arrive at UGA right out of high school, many do not. For example, consider journalist Alex Crevar (AB '93). After graduating from UGA in the early 1990s, Alex spent nearly 20 years traveling abroad and working as a freelance journalist, contributing to The New York Times, Men's Journal, National Geographic and more.
Alex has returned to UGA to pursue a masters degree from the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. He still works full time as a travel editor for Paste Magazine and part time as a spin instructor at the Ramsey Student Center. Assistant Director of Communications Jamie Lewis (AB '12, AB '12) sat down with Alex to discuss the biggest changes he's noticed at UGA since his undergraduate years and what it's like to return as a non-traditional student.
What prompted you to first attend UGA? What was your major and were you involved in any students activities?
UGA was one of the only schools I applied to and it was where all my friends were. Frankly, in those days, it was not a hard place to be accepted. I knew I would have fun. As a student, I was a communications major. I ran triathalons and played ultimate frisbee for UGA. I took a semester off to ski. I had a great time and still graduated with fairly good grades.
What did you do between graduating from UGA the first time and returning to earn your masters? How did your time at UGA prepare you for your career?
For the last 18, I have been a journalist. I lived between Europe and the U.S., covering travel for a variety of newspapers and magazines.
During my time at UGA, I became an adult -- of sorts -- and someone who was confident that he could try new things and visit new places. UGA and Athens have always been comfortable for me and because of those roots, I could live elsewhere knowing I always had a place to return, which is no small thing for any person.
Alex during his undergraduate years at UGA in the early 1990s
What made you want to return to Athens and UGA?
I came back to earn a masters in journalism. I want to eventually teach journalism at the college level while continuing to freelance.
Briefly discuss some of the biggest differences between your first time at UGA and now? How has campus changed, biggest difference in the student body, etc.
The biggest difference, without question, is technology. There was no Internet when I attended UGA. Now, of course, people are on their phones and laptops all the time. I find myself a little frustrated by the constant need to be in touch by device and the Internet.
The students today seem to be much more focused on school than I was ... or my friends were. But again, UGA wasn't the kind of place you had to fight to get into back then. Having said that, my generation loved Athens for Athens. Largely we were here because of the town. It seems that students are here now more for the school, which is appropriate, of course.
Are you interested in returning to UGA to earn a graduate degree? Click here to learn more about opportunities with UGA's Graduate School, which has many nationally ranked programs.
Sara Alread (BFA '09) of Saint Simons Island, Georgia successfully launched her business, Little River Designs, in April 2013. The web-based business features rustic hand-crafted, wooden designs for the Southern home. Litter River Designs is a family business in every sense of the word. Sara's father is a carpenter, while her mother and sister serve as constant inspirations for new designs. The idea to create Little River Designs came in the form of a new family member.
Sara shares how Litter River Designs got its name, "On November 30, 2011, my nephew, River, was born. He became our inspiration and official mascot. We were already making signs, planning weddings and building furniture for ourselves when friends became interested in what we were creating. Soon after River was born, Little River Designs began."
Little River Designs centers around a timeless family tradition: tracking grandchildrens' growth-spurts on the wall at grandma's house. Little River Designs' most popular item is the wooden Grow Chart Rulers.
Grow Chart Rulers by Litter River Designs
Today, Little River Designs continues to develop its online business and clientele. A recent expansion includes a line of wedding signs and the personalization of all Litter River Design products. As Sara and her team grow the Little River Designs line, they have gained the attention of a few big crafting and design websites. The business has been featured on SwissMiss, Sweet Peach, 100 Layer Cake, Rustic Wedding Chic, Golden Isles Magazine, and in the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Sisters Ashley Steele (ABJ ’06), of Charlottesville, Virginia., and Cali Brutz (AB ’08), of Athens, Georgia., own and operate two businesses that are modernizing the wedding industry. Steele and Brutz began working together in 2008 at the ages of 24 and 22, respectively. At the time, Steele was planning her own wedding and Brutz was a photographer. During the wedding planning process, the pair identified a number of issues that arise for the soon-to-be brides. Looking to solve those issues sparked several entrepreneurial projects.
The duo's latest venture, Borrowing Magnolia, uses a concept similar to that of Rent the Runway and Warby Parker in that brides will be able to rent wedding dresses for their big day directly from Borrowing Magnolia. The dresses available for rental will be provided by former brides who are interested in earning extra cash by lending their gown to another individual. Borrowing Magnolia ensures that the dresses are in good quality by limiting each dress to three rentals annually and five total. Sizes range from 0 to 24 and alterations are available as long as the changes are reversible
Borrowing Magnolia lives to serve the bride. The sisters ensure the brides-to-be that, "Borrowing Magnolia is committed to helping you find your dream gown, the way the modern bride does the dress. We make it easy for you to buy or borrow a designer gorgeous gown at a fraction of the retail cost, while still having a white-glove personalized boutique experience from start-to-finish. Look fabulous in your dream dress, save some cash, go green, and focus on what really matters on your wedding day. That’s what we’re all about."
The sisters have obviously been bitten by the entrepreneurial bug and show no signs of stopping. This year, Borrowing Magnolia is expected to have over 800 dresses in their collection by the end of the year; the business was featured in the New York Times’ Style Section; and reality show producers are in talks of covering their business endeavors.
Congratulation to Ashley and Cali on their stellar sucess and best wishes as they continue to help women live their dream weddings.
From the moment she stepped foot on the campus, Sarah Huber could tell that UGA was the perfect place for her. Nearly four years later, the future dentist calls the journey an “extraordinary experience.”
Throughout my four years at UGA, I have experienced significant development in my character and drastic change in my approach to life. I entered college with an outlook that was enthusiastic, yet full of uncertainty in my surroundings and in my hopes for the future. Today, my recent acceptance to dental school and each of the incredible relationships I have formed at UGA serve as reminders of the extraordinary experience that this university has provided me over these past four years.
Griffin-Spalding County is the University of Georgia's newest Archway Partnership community, bringing to 12 the number of counties across Georgia to participate in the unique community development initiative.
"Griffin-Spalding County has progressive visionary leadership, a key ingredient to a successful Archway program," said Mel Garber, director of Archway, a unit of the Office of Public Service and Outreach. "I commend community leaders for their unified effort."
Founded in 2005, the Archway Partnership builds on UGA's land-grant mission by taking a grassroots approach to address community and economic development needs, as identified by that community. Community leaders in Griffin-Spalding County have demonstrated a commitment to working together on community needs and the partnership with UGA will enhance those efforts, said Garber.
"The Archway Partnership represents the culmination of a community initiative undertaken as far back as 2008, to identify an efficient means of bringing our elected officials and their constituency groups together for the purpose of collaborative strategic planning, and the development of solutions to community challenges," said Chuck Copeland (AB '83), a Griffin-Spalding Chamber of Commerce volunteer.
Representatives from Griffin-Spalding County take place in the Archway Partnership MOU signing. From left to right, front row, James Westbury (BBA '64), Rita Johnson, Doug Hollberg; back row, Chuck Copeland (AB '83), Regent Tommy Hopkins (M '79), Stephanie Windham and Angel Jackson
.In the Archway Partnership, the community drives the priority-need process through an executive committee made up of local citizens and community leaders. An Archway professional, based in that community, identifies resources at UGA, as well as other institutions, that can be tapped to address those needs. Since the program began in 2005, more than 850 UGA students and 158 UGA faculty members, and 25 non-UGA faculty members have engaged in an Archway Partnership project.
As the Griffin-Spalding County Archway Partnership becomes established, residents will have opportunities to participate in listening sessions and town hall meetings during which the community's most critical needs will be identified.
"I am pleased that Griffin-Spalding County will be the next Archway Partnership community," said Jennifer Frum (PHD '09), vice president for public service and outreach. "We are excited about strengthening the ties between UGA and Griffin-Spalding and partnering with the community to help it grow and prosper."
For additional information about the Archway Partnership, see www.archwaypartnership.uga.edu.