Alumni to the Rescue
CURRENTS Article The oldest alumni association on record, the Williams College Society of Alumni, was founded in 1821 to support the institution during a time of economic uncertainty. Nearly two centuries later, the organization still takes to heart its mission to protect the college through service and philanthropy.
Past and Circumstance
CURRENTS Article This article looks at efforts in California to award honorary degrees to U.S. students of Japanese descent who were forced to leave the state's colleges and universities as a result of Executive Order 9066, signed soon after the December 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. Santa Ana College is looking for these former students to honor them in the campus's 2011 commencement ceremony. Meanwhile, the California State University system is working on a project to educate people about what happened using video footage and interviews of its 2010 commencement ceremonies at six CSU campuses.
Leaders in Training
CURRENTS Article Guiding young leaders may involve more work for alumni staff, but the payoff is long-term support and engagement with the institution and its alumni program.
Alumni Programming Goes Boom
CURRENTS Article There's a lot of talk about engaging young alumni, but what about older alumni? Some baby boomers are heading toward retirement, and alma mater can provide a lot of what they want. Put some thought into programming for this cohort, and it could pay off nicely for the institution.
AdvanceWork: Old Friends
CURRENTS Article The University of New Hampshire’s Elders program keeps older alumni connected with campus professors, students, and staff members. Since its inception three years ago, the program has reached more than 300 alumni and friends ages 70 and older at a dozen senior-care facilities and residential communities throughout New Hampshire. Every site visit includes presentations about various UNH programs and question-and-answer sessions.
Following a Class Act
CURRENTS Article With careers at their peak and children leaving the nest, Baby Boomer alumni are often looking for ways to give back to alma mater and society. One such effort is Princeton Project 55, which matches students and graduates with paid internships and fellowships in nonprofits around the United States. The project--named not for its founders’ class year but for their age at its inception--has developed several flourishing programs since it began in 1989. As the time draws near to turn the program over to a younger generation, Project 55’s founders must look for ways to prepare new talent.
The Ones to Watch
CURRENTS Article Although Baby Boomers have similar characteristics, their attitudes differ significantly based on their age and the specific time they were in college. Alumni staff members must keep that important fact in mind as they plan programs and events for Baby Boomers, who constitute the majority of the workforce and are at the height of their earning power. To connect with alumni from the ’60s and ’70s, alumni officers must offer time-sensitive events; casual, family-friendly activities; and staff support tailored to the needs of this particular group. Online newsletters and chat groups are a plus--but alumni directors should first ask Boomers how they want alma mater to communicate with them.
CURRENTS Article To involve alumni from the Millennial generation (born between 1978 and 1997), alumni associations need to understand that they’re likely to be brand-loyal joiners, networkers, and volunteers. But they’re also sophisticated consumers with high expectations for electronic communications, personal control, and service.
Back to School
CURRENTS Article Retirement communities located near campuses offer such benefits as continuing education and intergenerational contact. Some campuses establish their own communities; others enter into formal or informal partnerships with developers. Tips for a successful project include these: 1) Analyze your motivations. 2) Make sure the community offers shopping, medical care, and other necessary features. 3) Plan on providing assisted living units and a nursing facility as well as independent living units. 4) Choose a site with close proximity to campus. 5) Establish institutional and financial support up front. 6) Consult with professionals in the senior housing industry. 7) Be committed to lifelong learning. A sidebar profiles retirement communities associated with University of Virginia, Iowa State University, and Appalachian State University.