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Homecoming & Reunions

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Homecomings, Reunions and Alumni Involvement
Conference Discover new ways to reinvigorate or create your homecoming and reunion programs and better market them to your alumni.

Copy and Share Everything
CURRENTS Article Lawrence University aims to entice potential applicants is with a 10-page square mailer, which gives students a taste of life at the Wisconsin institution as well as an idea of what life might look like after graduation; a charming and authoritative third-grader leads "Today's Lesson: The Pennfield Fund," a five-minute video set up as a class about the importance of the Rhode Island independent school's annual fund; and during Alumni Weekend 2015, Imperial College London reveled in its graduates' proclivity for pranks.

Shaping a Strategic Approach to 50th Anniversary Reunions
Article,  BriefCASE Article Highlighting milestones and revisiting college memories make 50th anniversary reunions memorable, nostalgic occasions. To make the tradition more dynamic and engaging, colleges and universities should consider a strategic approach to class reunions, says Lynn Langnas, associate director of class programs at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia.

Reflecting One Year Out
CURRENTS Article A 25-year-old assistant director of alumni relations shares the lessons learned during her first year at Williston Northampton School.

Spring 2015
CURRENTS Article A 25-year-old assistant director of alumni relations shares the lessons learned during her first year at Williston Northampton School.

To Affinity … and Beyond!
CURRENTS Article Universities are becoming more involved with niche affinity groups that either speak to postgraduate professional and personal interests or hark back to those nostalgic memories. Finding those pockets of alumni can boost engagement in ways that hosting class reunions may not.

The Ultimate Do-Over
CURRENTS Article The chance to be feted with the current graduating class is a perk reserved for members of Corpus Cordis Aureum, Emory alumni who graduated at least five decades ago.

How to Host the Best Homecoming Ever
CURRENTS Article CURRENTS has collected some of America's best and weirdest homecoming traditions. Here are events that help communities, boost careers, and pump up alumni.

Come on Baby, Light My...
CURRENTS Article While the bonfire is still very much ablaze at many institutions, here are three of our favorite alternative "light" traditions.

A Nontraditional Event That Gets Results
CURRENTS Article National Marquette Day capitalizes on the popularity of the men's basketball team and creates a global buzz.

Homecoming Advice from the Experts
CURRENTS Article Experts weigh in on hosting a successful homecoming.

The Origins of Homecoming
CURRENTS Article Homecoming is often traced back to a 1911 football game at the University of Missouri. But was Missouri really the first to hold the event? Here are other contenders.

To Go Big, Go Small
CURRENTS Article An alumni volunteer at Cornell University in 2008 created a successful affinity group recruitment plan to boost attendance at the institution's class reunions. The six-step model provides an easy-to-follow structure that can be used by virtually any class or alumni group at any institution, large or small.

An Overdue Homecoming
CURRENTS Article In an effort to attract alumni of adjacent class years, the Association of Yale Alumni experimented with a new kind of reunion in October based on residential colleges students lived in. The Ezra Stiles College reunion celebrated the dormitory's 50th anniversary and set the stage for future reunions of its type.

Return on Investment of Special Events
Podcast Hear why Kenneth M. Catandella from Columbia University believes event planners should use more data to drive their work. Also, listen to what he says institutions should consider before launching a big, gala-type annual event.

Swept Away
CURRENTS Article An alumni versus students broomball tournament brings young alumni to homecoming at Michigan Technological University.

Lessons Learned: How one University Grew Attendance, Gifts at Reunion
Article,  BriefCASE Article High-level volunteer support, a unified advancement staff and robust data are critical for institutions planning to transform their reunion programs, according to two presenters at a recent CASE Online Speaker Series on campus reunions.

Story Swap
CURRENTS Article Wabash College invites reunion attendees to share stories of their alumni days in informal recording sessions and then posts the sessions on the college's YouTube channel. The program, dubbed Scarlet Yarns, has become a staple of reunion, with more than 100 recordings collected so far.

Lance una red más amplia para su reunión
CURRENTS Article Hace algunos años, cuando Facebook comenzaba a saltar de un dormitorio a, bueno, todos los dormitorios, algunos líderes de exalumnos se preguntaron si la creciente popularidad de Facebook sería el fin de las reuniones. No pasaba un día sin que escuchara hablar sobre exalumnos que habían encontrado compañeros a los que les habían perdido la pista y estaban organizando reuniones a través de este medio.

Cast a Wider Net for Reunion
CURRENTS Article A few years ago, the mere mention of the word "Facebook" could cause anxiety among alumni relations professionals. They worried that alumni reconnecting with long-lost classmates on Facebook wouldn't attend reunions anymore. But the Facebook dust has cleared, and reunions have suffered surprisingly few injuries, if any at all. This article discusses how Facebook is helping rather than hindering reunion.

Advance Work: Re-Union Record
CURRENTS Article During alumni weekend, 1,087 couples gathered on the Ohio campus for an event dubbed the “Miami Merger Moment.” Pending confirmation from Guinness World Records, Miami University will hold the record for most couples simultaneously renewing their wedding vows.

Reunion Is in Hand
CURRENTS Article For its 150th anniversary of class-based reunions, Princeton University created Reunions Mobile, a mobile Web site that provides a portable way to communicate maps, schedules, and important messages to thousands of returning alumni.

Advancement Achievers
CURRENTS Article Profiles of selected 2002 Circle of Excellence winners

Victory, Sidelined for 30 Years
CURRENTS Article In 1977, Washington's Whitman College eliminated its football program, angering many former players. Recently the college and a group of former players planned and held a reunion that sought to mend broken fences.

Successful Affinity Group Reunions Require Strong Volunteer Participation
Article,  BriefCASE Article Motivating volunteers to play a significant role in planning and organizing is the key to holding a successful affinity reunion.

Advance Work: Does Everybody Love a Parade?
CURRENTS Article Decades-old homecoming traditions like the parade sometimes fail to resonate with today's alumni, students, and staff. Some institutions are rethinking their parades by changing the time and date, using a different format, or replacing it altogether.

What's Old Is New Again
CURRENTS Article Campus archivists can do more than help create great displays. They can assist alumni professionals with many different aspects of their jobs, from planning reunions and homecomings to answering the myriad questions alumni offices inevitably get.

Taking Shape
CURRENTS Article The first reunion for Kenya’s Strathmore University was an opportunity for the campus to reconnect with alumni, revive its alumni office, and develop relationships to benefit former students and the campus. Eric Saulo, Strathmore’s alumni relations officer, tells how alumni staff and reunion committee members contacted alumni, searched for former students, and advertised the upcoming event. The article also describes alumni feedback and shares the campus’s plans for alumni events and fund raising.

Guess Who's Coming to Reunion?
CURRENTS Article Affinity groups for homosexual alumni typically represent a small percentage of the alumni body at any institution. But the growth of such groups during the past decade signals increased campus awareness of the need to provide services and activities that reflect and respect alumni diversity. Alumni directors can manage these affinity groups in a sensitive way by communicating carefully with alumni, letting former students determine their level of involvement, and following the group's lead on what services and activities interest them. Religious institutions that don’t condone homosexuality look for ways to make all alumni feel welcome on campus while upholding the institution's religious beliefs.

Reunion Reflections
CURRENTS Article Campuses host reunions to maintain lifelong ties with alumni. But what do alumni expect from these events? Advancement officers who want greater results from reunions must learn to look at these events from the graduates' viewpoint. By paying attention to former students' desires for fun, affordable activities, advancement officers can make the most of these events, meet with large numbers of former students in an efficient way, and showcase the campus at its best.

AdvanceWork: A Stitch in Time
CURRENTS Article Binghamton University alumni officers helped graduates reminisce about their student days--and clean their closets--by collecting T-shirts advertising student organizations and events and turning them into quilts for display at homecoming.

Mining for Gold
CURRENTS Article Profiles of 12 CASE Circle of Excellence 2003 winners. Member institution nominees were judged on the creativity of their alumni relations, communications, and development initiatives, including alumni publications, reunions, constituency giving, stewardship, and alumni relations programs. Profiled winners include Brigham Young University/University of Utah; Columbia College Chicago; Georgia Tech Alumni Association; Goucher College; Imperial College London; the Institute for Shipboard Education; Lehigh University Alumni Association; Monroe Community College Foundation; Pennsylvania State University; the University of Chicago; the University of Iowa Alumni Association; and the University of Miami.

AdvanceWork: Picnic or Politics?
CURRENTS Article When the Yale University Class of ’68 held its 25th reunion dinner at the White House, some questioned whether it was a social event or an implied endorsement of President George W. Bush’s policies on the heels of the invasion of Iraq. This Advancework item is of interest to alumni reunion organizers.

Swell Returns
CURRENTS Article Like large institutions, small colleges and independent schools can approach reunion giving as a mini-campaign that combines annual and capital giving over several years. This requires careful goal setting and timing, effective volunteer recruitment for the reunion gift committee, and thoughtful attention to how to make the gift suit the unique character of the class. This article is of special interest to development officers who handle reunion, annual, campaign, and major gifts and recruit class-related volunteers, and of some interest to prospect researchers.

AdvanceWork: Pick a Theme, Any Theme
CURRENTS Article An alumni pro's collection provides homecoming inspiration

All that Glitters
CURRENTS Article Profiles of selected 2001 Circle of Excellence winners, including alumni relations programs at Oklahoma State University, the University of Indianapolis, and Lake Forest College; communications programs or publications at Providence College, Hotchkiss School, Art Center College of Design, University of Natal, Carleton College, and Baptist College of Health Sciences; and development programs at Georgia State University, Lord Fairfax Community College, and the University of Utah.

Spotlight on the Stars
CURRENTS Article A selection of 2000 Circle of Excellence winners, including alumni relations programs at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Institute of Technology and Higher Studies of Monterrey, Queretaro Campus, and St. Clement's School; publications at Wake Forest University, La Pietra-Hawaii School for Girls, and Stanford University; and fund raising programs at Iowa State University Foundation, University of Western Ontario Richard Ivey School of Business, and Southern Methodist University.

AdvanceWork: Running the Show
CURRENTS Article Problem/Solution

Homecoming Close-Up
CURRENTS Article Alumni directors offer their opinions on the status of homecoming today and ways this tradition might change in the coming years. The professionals cited three general movements in homecoming programming: increased family activities, greater integration of community service projects, and expansion of homecoming offerings. They agree that successful homecomings are a blend of tradition and innovation.

In Advance: At What Price Fun?
CURRENTS Article Four campuses share their strategies on pricing homecoming and reunion fees.

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