By Jessica Thomas

A Buckhead group is connecting recent alumni of the University of Georgia in a way that is not just about football.

The UGA Young Alumni Council aims to foster a feeling that supporting their alma mater should be more than attending tailgate parties or games or donating to the athletic department.

Established in 2008 and based at the Atlanta UGA Alumni Center, located in the Atlanta Financial Center at 3333 Peachtree Road, the group seeks to connect young alumni – graduates of the last decade – with the UGA Alumni Association, according to Julie Cheney, YAC advisor and assistant director of membership for the alumni association.

The 30 YAC board members serve in an advisory capacity for various initiatives aimed at engaging the university’s growing young alumni population in the greater Atlanta area, she said.

According to the alumni association, around 1,900 young alumni who graduated since 1998 reside in the Buckhead area.

The council is made up of alumni from four states and 10 graduate classes. Through social and networking events, the design is to build and strengthen UGA’s network of young alumni in metro Atlanta.

“Essentially by forming the YAC, we have seen an increase in young alumni participation in programs, events as well as our alumni chapters and club leadership in Atlanta,” said Cheney, a 1999 graduate. “We are not a donations-based department. However, we feel that by joining the Alumni Association, staying connected to Georgia and maintaining ties, you’re more likely to give back and get involved.”

The Council encourages alumni support for the university through social, charitable and developmental programs, some of which raise money or awareness of various causes in Atlanta. This past winter, the group and other young alumni volunteered at the Atlanta Community Food Bank.

Most of the events are focused on Buckhead-area alumni, but the council is exploring holding events outside the Perimeter. Social and networking events that allow alums to reconnect with each other have been held at Sweetwater Brewery, East Andrews Bar & Café and Stout Irish Pub, according to council spokesman Dana Schmidt.