Alumni-Engagement Introduction

Does your program engage its alumni regularly throughout the year? If not, why not?  If so, in what ways?

Alumni-engagement efforts should to be thought of as long term and ongoing.  If they can become a regular part of the activities within your program—things that students and alumni come to expect each year—then that will be beneficial to the program in the long run.

Student alumni-engagement efforts will be more successful when they have a clear purpose.

Newsletters

Send out a department or Program Student Association (PSA) newsletter which not only includes information about the program, but notes from the students, faculty and alumni with updates about themselves.  These updates can be career or discipline focused, but they can also be general bits of information, such as who recently got married, who took up a new hobby, who traveled to an interesting locale, etc.  There could be a section in this newsletter that is specifically offering information targeted to alumni of your program.  (For example, a reminder for alumni to update their contact information with both the program’s office and the GC’s online alumni directory.)   Someone would need to be the editor of this newsletter, but the various articles/parts could be provided by many others in the program, making it more of a group effort.

See below for sample newsletters.

Download (PDF, 585KB)

Download (PDF, 213KB)

Download (PDF, 72KB)

In-Person Alumni Engagement

Does your program engage its alumni regularly throughout the year? If not, why not?  If so, in what ways?

Alumni-engagement efforts should to be thought of as long term and ongoing.  If they can become a regular part of the activities within your program—things that students and alumni come to expect each year—then that will be beneficial to the program in the long run.

Student alumni-engagement efforts will be more successful when they have a clear purpose.

On-campus visits by program alumni or gatherings for program alumni:  Organize, for example, a panel of alumni discussing careers outside the academy, or how to get your first book published, or various paths to that tenure-track job, or post-doctorates.   Invite alumni to events within your department.  (For example, an awards ceremony, a lecture, or a holiday party.  These events could be specifically for alumni, but they don’t have to be.  Either way, you should send alumni an invitation geared specifically to them.)

Off-campus gatherings with program alumni:  Organize, for example, a gathering for faculty and students attending a conference in your field and invite any alumni attending the conference, or living in the area, to meet you there.  Someone in your program would need to make a general announcement about this gathering to the alumni, for example, via email.  The gathering could also be announced in a newsletter.  It would be helpful for someone in your program to look through the list of presenters and conference organizers to see if any alumni from your program are listed, and then extend more personal invitation to them.  This kind of gathering could be at a pub or restaurant near the conference, or it could center around coffee on a morning before the conference events got started.   You could also organize off-campus, more-social events for the department here in the City, and include alumni in the list of invitees.  (For example, a gathering at a nearby pub, or tickets to see a play or attend a concert.)

Bulletin board:  Is there a bulletin board or some other area for announcement in you program offices where alumni news and achievements could be posted/celebrated?  If not, might this be put in place?  If it is in place, is the information current?

Alumni Bulletin Board in the Sociology Program Lounge

Digital Alumni Engagement

Contact updates:  Officially encourage alumni each year to update their contact information with any changes.  Alumni should send these updates to both the program and the GC’s online alumni directory.

Holiday greetings:  Your program or your PSA (Program Student Association) leadership could send out an annual holiday greeting in December wishing the alumni well in the New Year.  This could be done through the Post Office and/or email.

HLBLL Holiday Card

HLBLL Holiday Card

 

Program webpage:  Is there a space on your program’s Webpage for news about alumni?   If not, then speak with your EO and/or APO about putting this in place.  If it is in place, are alumni solicited regularly to send in news about books or articles being published, significant research, grants or awards, as well as general career accomplishments, such as earning tenure, or getting a new position?  If not, how might your department make that happen?  Is the information about alumni on your program’s webpage updated regularly?  If the most recent news about program alumni is from four years ago, that is not creating a good impression of your program.  Celebrating alumni achievements on your webpage is important for alumni relations, but this also can be an important factor in recruiting incoming students.  (Keep that in mind.)

Alumni

Social media:  Does your program have a FaceBook page?  A LinkedIn group?  A Twitter feed? Or make use of other forms of social media?  If not, could it?  If so, is the information being updated on a regular basis?  Is someone formally responsible for this?