Types of Penn State Alumni Groups

Penn State has many different Alumni groups and we understand that this can be very confusing to the average Alumni!  We hope this page will provide Alumni with a better understanding of the differences between these groups.

To keep alumni connected to each other and to the University, the Penn state Alumni Association sponsors a variety of chartered groups that provide opportunities for professional development, networking, volunteering, and friendship building. No other association offers a wider scope of affiliate programs than the Penn State Alumni Association. This tradition began in 1898 when the first “branch” of the Penn state Alumni Association was formed – the Pittsburgh Club. Today there are more than 200 affiliation groups. They are broken down into the following: Societies, Chapters, Affiliate Program Groups (APGs), and Alumni Interest Groups (AIGs).


Chapters are groups of alumni and friends that form in specific geographical areas. Chapter members share their Penn State pride with their communities by performing community service projects, participating in charitable endeavors, promoting Penn State Fellowship, and supporting local area students in their transition to Penn State via student sendoff and scholarships. Each chapter develops its own programming, so the type of events and level of activity may vary from chapter to chapter. There are 134 chapters in the United State and 75 in other countries, from Berks County to Venezuela.


An Alumni Society is a group comprised of Alumni Association members who attended the same commonwealth campus or graduated from the same academic college. Societies provide a means for alumni to connect back to their academic unit. There is a society in place for every college and most of the Penn State locations. The activities and programming of the various alumni societies vary but often include mentoring programs between current students and alumni, networking events for alumni and students, and student recruitment activities. Currently, there are 28 active societies. Some examples are college of Agricultural Sciences, the Graduate School, and Penn State Berks.

Affiliate Program Groups (APGs)

Affiliate Program Groups are centered around a department within a college or campus. They are chartered by their college or campus alumni society, and anyone can be a member of the group – regardless of whether they’re an alum or whether they’re an Alumni Association member. APGs are similar to societies with the exception that this connection is focusing on the promotion and development of the academic department rather than the entire college or campus. The kinds of activities that APGs are involved in are also similar to societies: networking, mentoring, as well as student recruitment. There are 32 APGs representing 12 colleges including the Wyomissing Polytechnic Affiliate Program Group based at the Berks Campus.

Alumni Interest Groups (AIGs)

AIGs consist of alumni of the University who have common interests arising out of their University co-curricular activities or common cultural or professional postgraduate interests. AIGs give alumni a creative way to stay connected with the people they were involved with during their student years at Penn State. They also give alumni a way to interact and network with folks with similar interests after they leave Penn State. It is our fastest growing kind of affiliation group, and Penn State was among the first universities to sponsor groups of this kind. Currently there are 24 AIGs. Among them are African American Alumni Organization, Cheerleading, Crew, International Dancers, Latino, and Thespian AIGs. Since their focus is so varied, so is their programming. Activities have included networking luncheons, panel discussions, and annual reunions. Many AIGs have a strong student focus and work toward increasing interaction with alumni and students.

Special Thanks to the Harrisburg Chapter for the above information.