Caitlin Nutt '19, July 6th, 2017
The Aggie Real Estate Network (AREN) is hosting its 40th Annual Conference July 27-29 Bryan/College Station’s newest luxury hotel, the Stella Hotel located at Lake Walk at Traditions Golf Club.
The celebration of the AREN’s accomplishments culminates each year at the Annual Real Estate Conference. This event’s primary focus, since its introduction in 1977, is on continuous education and fundraising. Members satisfy their goal by inviting real estate professionals to College Station and providing them with the opportunity to learn, celebrate, and network with peers.
Since this year marks the 40th anniversary of the original conference, the event begins with a commemorative reception on Thursday evening. It will be followed by speakers and networking opportunities on Friday and Saturday.
What differentiates AREN is the support from its members. Many affiliates serve as mentors to graduate students, host various conferences in the pursuit of lifelong education, and fundraise to create scholarships for students. The organization has raised more than $350,000, with $225,000 of that being awarded to outstanding students.
Mays Executive Professor Cydney Donnell, who is director of real estate programs, is coordinating the conference. A big part of the conference’s purpose is to raise funds in support of the real estate education efforts at Texas A&M,” she said. “Students have benefited greatly from both endowed scholarships and funding for educational events and trainings.”
How the network evolved
Students in the Master of Land Economics and Real Estate (LERE) Program created what is now known as the Aggie Real Estate Network (AREN). Their hope was to establish an organization where students could connect and network with those who had similar interests. These students originally called the organization The Association of Texas Real Estate Economists.
Master’s students who were accepted into the LERE Program were working toward a degree from the College of Agriculture. As finance became a more prominent feature of the real estate industry, the program was transferred to Mays Business School and the name was changed to the Master of Real Estate Program.
There are still close ties between the Master of Real Estate Program and College of Agriculture. The streamlined academic option, 4+1, was created for top students in Agricultural Economics who were interested in obtaining a Masters in Real Estate. The program allows students to register for essential agriculture courses and collaborate with students who are enrolled in a similar program in the College of Architecture.
Typically, the Master of Real Estate Program accepts 30 to 45 students annually and provides them with countless opportunities after college. Numerous students go on to work in banking, mortgage finance, retail site selection, investing, and agricultural appraisal. While graduates venture into the professional world, many continue to stay connected to Texas A&M through membership in The Aggie Real Estate Network.