Andy Shaindlin posted this on Twitter today, and it really got me thinking. If you’re not following Andy on Twitter, you should. He wrote:
Did you go to college? If so, what’s the one most useful/relevant thing your alumni assoc. could do for you?— Andy Shaindlin (@alumnifutures) April 30, 2014
Let me preface this by saying I am writing this as alumnus of Duquesne University and not my current employer. I’m not on the alumni relations team nor am I involved with the alumni association here. I am speaking merely as a college graduate, I’m taking my higher ed professional hat off.
As I write this, I’ve been out of college for 15 years. I have not been involved with the Duquesne University alumni association since I graduated. It’s no fault of theirs, I just haven’t been involved. I moved to Erie, then to Meadville and now I’m in Cleveland.
On paper, they’re doing everything right. I get invited to events both here in Cleveland and in Pittsburgh. I get invited to Homecoming and reunions. I get the alumni magazine. I’ve even given a little bit here and there.
But on the whole, I’m not engaged, which is a little surprising given the social/instant communication world we’re living in now.
I’ve kept up with the few people from college that I wanted to, so I don’t really need an alumni directory. If there’s someone I really need to find, chances are I can find them on LinkedIn. I haven’t really needed career services.
Maybe I’m an outlier.
For me, personally, I think the thing that an alumni association can provide is a connection. Connect me back to that place. Was my time there all roses? No, but it was an important time. Connect me back to the place and show me why to care for more of a reason than it’s just my alma mater.
That connection can open up all sorts of doors – involvement, giving and most importantly, engagement.