​​ ​​Derek Berger

No matter where you turn at CMU, you're bound to see a familiar face. For alumnus Derek Berger, class of '06, that was a huge selling point. ​

"Central always has this air of being at home the minute you step onto campus. It's the feeling that you belong somewhere," he said. "There's a level of excitement that permeates campus and really brings the community together."

CMU offers a wide array of opportunities for academic and personal growth, including one of the top Alternative Break programs in the country, more than 150 study abroad programs in 40 countries, and 400+ student organizations, including one for every academic program. With this many opportunities to get involved, you're bound to feel at home on Central's campus.

Derek credits the student-first focus at Central for his future success as the Associate Vice President for Development at Ball State University in Indiana.

He began his career path as a high school science teacher, but knew his interests lay in a different sector of education.

"I knew I had a real passion for the student experience and I wanted to work in higher education. I wanted to make sure other students had the same opportunities and experiences that I did," he said.

Those opportunities and experiences, said Derek, are a big part of the reason he's where he is today. He said his professors made him feel right at home, and that working with them right away helped make sense of the confusion that can accompany the first semester of college.

"It also causes you to want to rise to another level when you're working directly with your professor your first semester on campus. That experience definitely helped me set my bar higher and cultivated a continuing interest in higher education."

In addition to academics, Derek also was highly involved with philanthropy and Greek life. Volunteering, he said, helped him meet so many people he never would have known and gave him even more incredible experiences while also giving back.

"Volunteerism can be a great way to learn more about the Mount Pleasant community and to be active and meet new people across campus."

With a whole host of opportunities to get involved – from campus leadership to study abroad to Alternative Breaks, and everything in between – there's always something to do at CMU. Finding your community is easier than ever.

To incoming students, Derek offers this advice:

"While you're here, it's your opportunity to take advantage of all the experiences you can only get on a college campus. CMU is so welcoming and inviting, so get in there and explore what you want to do."