Acknowledging those who got us here: The Alumni Programme
By Ali Nasseri


Since SGAC’s founding in 1999, more than 15,000 individuals have registered on the SGAC website, many of them contributing to what SGAC has become today. Over time, many of those members aged out of the organization, owing to the 35 year age limit, creating a dilemma for SGAC: on one hand we want to include everyone and benefit from their expertise, but the SGAC bylaws at the time restricted us to those under the age of 35.

Slowly, SGAC members started to try and integrate these alumni members in SGAC activities. For example, they were invited to the SGC as speakers and experts, or supported some of our project groups as advisors. By 2013, our Japanese members even managed to launch an alumni scholarship, with Japanese alumni supporting 1-2 students or young professionals to attend SGC and IAC.

With these activities, the idea of engaging further with the alumni became a pressing issue, and upon discussions within the SGAC Executive Committee and General Assembly in 2013, we decided to add alumni as a recognized group to our bylaws. This was followed by informal alumni gatherings at SGFF and IAC 2015. At our informal gathering at IAC 2016 Guadalajara, about 150 people attended our informal gathering. This grew to 200 at IAC 2017 in Adelaide, and almost 300 individuals at IAC 2018 in Bremen. These numbers showed us that our alumni want to engage, if we give them the right environment to do so.

Last year, SGAC celebrated its founding through the Space Generation Forum 2.0, where alumni members could also register for the event. This event marked the official launch of the SGAC Alumni Programme, with the aim of engaging further with our alumni members.

SGAC Founders at the UNISPACE III Conference, in 1999

The Alumni Programme started with asking our alumni members to speak on their SGAC journey at SGAC events. We also kept the informal alumni gathering we had started. During our alumni gathering at IAC 2018 in Bremen, we launched the SGAC Alumni Fund. The Fund commemorates our alumni who spent countless hours for SGAC to reach where it is today, and donations to the fund are used to create additional scholarship opportunities for SGAC members.

Thanks to the support we have received from many SGAC members and alumni who donated to the fund, this year we will also be launching the SGAC Alumni Scholarships, which are funded by the alumni fund.

There are a few others ways to get involved with SGAC as an alumni:

These and more opportunities are regularly advertised on our Alumni mailing list, which you are welcome to join.

If you have an idea for other activities we can do to involve our alumni, feel free to reach out to me with your ideas! And if you are an alumni, please consider joining the SGAC alumni activities.