Department of Political Science

Take 5 with Erin Hutchins, Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator for the Office of Alumni Affairs

Published on Jun 14, 2016

Erin Hutchins, a two-time CLA graduate, is the Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator for the Office of Alumni Affairs.

Erin Hutchins received her bachelor’s degree in political science in May 2009 from Auburn University. During her undergraduate career she was involved with a number of organizations and departments, including the Student Government Association, University Program Council, Black Student Union, Freshman Year Experience Office and the Athletics Department.

In December 2011, Hutchins graduated with a master's degree in public administration and nonprofit management from Auburn University. She also received a graduate certificate of nonprofit organization and community governance. While in graduate school, she was inducted into the Pi Sigma Alpha National Political Science Honor Society, the Delta Epsilon Iota Academic Honor Society and was the National Forum for Black Public Administrators Scholarship Recipient in 2011.

Hutchins began her career in Albany, Georgia, in November 2011 and committed to a year of service as an AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America) at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Albany for the United Way of Southwest Georgia. During her year as an AmeriCorps member, she was able to make a difference in the community though projects like the Community Hygiene Drive, which she continued throughout her time in Albany.

In November 2012, Hutchins began working to provide free academic and enrichment opportunities during non-school hours to students in the Dougherty County School System. As the program director for the Albany Area YMCA 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) Program, she was able to make a difference in the lives of more than 600 children and their families. The program serves students at Alice Coachman, Live Oak and Martin Luther King, Jr. elementary schools and it received the Dougherty County School Systems Partners In Excellence Award in 2015.

Hutchins is a graduate of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce Institute for Leadership Development's inaugural class of 2015. She was also the recipient of the 40 Under 40 Award in 2013 and 2015.

1. Why is your position so important to Auburn?

As the diversity and inclusion coordinator for the Office of Alumni Affairs, I have a great responsibility to reach out to and create a welcoming and inclusive environment for all of our alumni. The newly added position to the Office of Alumni Affairs shows the Auburn Alumni Association's commitment to diversity and strengthening our Auburn Family. I believe that we are most successful when we utilize the full range of diversity in our Auburn Family.

2. What was your most memorable experience as an Auburn student?

In November of 2007, I was standing on Cater Lawn anxiously waiting to hear my name called to be one of the 36 individuals that would become Camp War Eagle Counselors for the summer of 2008. I was blessed with the opportunity to run up the steps of Cater Hall and into my role as one of the leaders for freshman orientation. After six months of preparation, it was time to put what I learned into action at my first Camp War Eagle session. Day one of session one in the lobby of Dowdell Residence Hall, with 35 of my peers, we stood together arm in arm and recited the creed. "I believe"… As those words echoed through the room tears came to my eyes because as family we were about to bring in the next generation of Auburn men and women. It was an absolute privilege to be part of such an amazing program with a group of outstanding people.

3. What are some ways alumni and students can get involved with the Auburn Alumni Association?

There are a number of ways to get involved with the Auburn Alumni Association. The Student Alumni Association (SAA) is a great way for students to get involved. As the largest student organization on campus, it offers students the opportunity to get involved with a number of programs on campus, as well as connect with Auburn alumni. Each year in August, SAA hosts a membership drive that includes a number of benefits for the students throughout the year. If students would like to take more of a leadership role in the organization they can apply for the Student Alumni Board.

For our alumni, there are several ways to get involved. The first and most important ways are to make sure that your information is up to date and join the association. We want to be able to contact our alumni and keep them informed about our programming, as well as get their input and feedback so that we can best serve our alumni.

Another awesome way to get involved is to be part of one of our 92 Auburn clubs across the country and even an alumni affiliate in China. It is a great way to connect with other Auburn families that share the Auburn spirit.

4. How did your liberal arts education prepare you for your career path?

My liberal arts education prepared me to think critically, communicate effectively, and be aware of different cultures and perspective allowing me to be successful in a global society. The courses offered helped me expand my understanding of the world around me and build the skills necessary to enter the workforce.

The career path I have chosen has been extremely rewarding. Even though as a freshman I had no earthly idea about what I wanted to do with my life, I always knew that I wanted to make a difference in the lives of others. Being a student in the College of Liberal Arts helped me find my way and has ultimately resulted in hundreds of children fed, countless people benefiting from hygiene products collected and hundreds of students realizing their potential. Great people have come out of CLA and I am just thankful to be one among them.


5. Who are the people that have had the most positive impact on your life?

When I look back on my life, the people who stand out the most to me, who have always been by my side, making it to every major life event while encouraging me along the way, are my parents, Carl and Joyce Hutchins. They are incredible examples of how to love and respect those around me and what it means to work hard. Everything I am and all of my accomplishments are largely due to their commitment to making sure that I had every opportunity possible. I am truly grateful and thank God for blessing me with such an amazing gift.