Alumni Relations Programs

Judges' Report

Creative Strategies for Engaging Volunteers

11 Entries

Gold Award

Pennsylvania State University (PA) - Online Student "Adoption" Strategy by a Penn State Chapter


  • With 18,000 online, adult students in 50 states and around the world, and a growth target of 45,000 students by 2024/2025, this pilot provides a model to strategically address how Penn State ensures that students, who may never set foot on a physical campus, feel connected to the Penn State Alumni Family and the institution. Online students are supported and encouraged locally by a Chapter so that students remain enrolled and are more academically successful.

Silver Award

Franklin & Marshall College (PA) - 5 Easy, Cheap and Last Minute Ideas to Re-energize Volunteers and Staff

  • Each year volunteers (and staff) experience a slump in excitement in late winter. Outreach efforts seem to stall, interest in committing to attend Reunion Weekend or making a gift in support of the class withers. Staff met in late February of 2015 and with little or no budget, a plan to step out of their comfort zone and be spontaneous, a pledge to not overburden already overbooked staff and decision to put aside fear of failure, during a single brainstorming session they created 5 easy, cheap and "late in the game" ways to re-energize Reunion volunteers ...and staff!

Community College Alumni Relations

1 Entry

No Winners

Innovative Alumni Programs

50 Entries

Gold Award

American University (D.C.) - SIS Resume Review Week: Eagles Helping and Hiring Eagles

  • "SIS Resume Review Week: Eagles Helping and Hiring Eagles" is a student-alumni engagement series in its second year, providing School of International Service (SIS) graduate students and undergraduate seniors with an opportunity to have their resume personally reviewed by SIS alumni. Following the review process, students are invited to upload their resume to the AU Career Center's CareerWeb (using Simplicity) for distribution (using iModules, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and newsletters) to the SIS Global Alumni Network of more than 15,000 alumni for consideration for fellowships, internships, and positions. 

Silver Award

The University of Melbourne (Australia) - 24,000 Reconnections - Melbourne's Most Successful Alumni Contact Campaign


  • The University of Melbourne has an alumni network of over 350,000 alumni across the world. The decision was taken to run a cost-effective Update Your Details campaign, with heavily segmented messaging for differing age ranges and regions. Our intention was to increase contact and enhance our alumni data, and to also make the process simple for alumni audiences by sending an individual pre-populated form. Each form was automatically populated with our current details for the targeted alumnus, and alumni were asked to either confirm their details or update them.

University of Portland (OR) - Bluff Box


  • Launched in Fall 2014 and repeated in Fall 2015, Bluff Boxes (so named because the University of Portland is colloquially known as "The Bluff") are small gift boxes sent by alumni to freshman living in their former dorms. Each box contains a small treat as well as a personal note from the alumnus welcoming the student into the University of Portland family.

Bronze Award

Grand Valley State University (MI) - GVSU Homecoming LipSync Livestream

  • To increase alumni and student engagement as a celebration of GVSU's 2015 Homecoming, the Alumni Relation Office, University Communication, and Institutional Marketing created an online streaming and interactive voting of LipSync, a signature homecoming. By utilizing existing and new technology and increasing collaboration, the project streamed to over 4,539 individuals with more than 7,500 votes cast.

Marketing and Branding

13 Entries

Gold Winner

Harvard Business School (MA) - The HBS Alumni Wilderness Survival Handbook for Intrepid Explorers

  • Understanding that being an alumnus of Harvard Business School is a lifelong journey, this marketing initiative (which includes a website, six animated videos, and print and web advertising) is designed as an illustrated, interactive "instruction manual" that provides trail markers pointing alumni to the many programs and resources available to them, regardless of their career stage, their age, or their location. Increased engagement-or re-engagement-is the goal.

Silver Winner

California State University, Office of the Chancellor (CA) - The California State University Class of 3 Million


  • Each year, the California State University graduates more than 100,000 students. In 2013-14, a milestone of 3 million living alumni was met. To celebrate this remarkable achievement and strengthen connections with alumni, the CSU Chancellor's Office developed and coordinated a centralized marketing campaign, "The Class of 3 Million." Although the largest part of the audience for this celebration was alumni, another key part of the audience was graduating seniors. The program's centerpiece was an online yearbook where alumni and the Class of 2015 from all 23 CSU campuses could connect, network and show their pride for being part of one of the largest alumni networks in the nation.

Bronze Winner

University of Missouri, Columbia (MO) - Graduate Exit Survey

  • The online Graduate Exit Survey is a key element in building the alumni association brand with new graduates and an indispensable source of data on young alumni attitudes and satisfaction with MU. It also acts to strengthen the positioning of the association as the voice of alumni and provide campus administrators insights they are not receiving anywhere else. The survey captures post-graduate contact information, student activity participation history, general satisfaction with a variety of campus departments and documents each graduate's defining moment as a student and their plans for the future. The added data allows for better segmentation and targeted marketing/messaging and enhances engagement opportunities between the alumni association and young alumni.

Programming for Special Constituencies

29 Entries

Gold Award

The University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong) - Catching the Dream: The HKU DreamCatchers Entrepreneurship Series


  • The HKU DreamCatchers Entrepreneurship Series was established to provide a hub that would encourage and nurture innovation and entrepreneurship through forums, mixers, events, course, marketplaces, co-workspaces, and portals. Initiated by alumni, DreamCatchers is cross-sector and inter-generational, and covers the four areas of Social Innovation, Media Entrepreneurship, Business & Technology, and Creativity & Culture.

Silver Awards

University College Dublin (Ireland) - UCD Woodland Walkies 2015


  • The second UCD Woodland Walkies event in September 2015 welcomed 600 pet owners of the UCD community with their dogs and families back to UCD to enjoy a day on the campus. It was an opportunity to showcase the UCD campus as an amenity for pet owners. The day consisted of guided dog-walks around the campus' 8km woodland with a dog agility course, picnic area, talks from animal experts and fun for all the family, especially their canine friends. It was an opportunity for UCD's pet owners to learn more about the campus as a local amenity and to speak with staff of the UCD School of Veterinary Medicine and UCD Veterinary Hospital about their pets and to seek advice on pet care.Attendees were informed about the UCD Animal Welfare Fund and were contacted 5 months after with a direct mail to support the fund. 

California State University, Fresno (CA) - Establishing a Rainbow Alumni and Allies Club

  • What does it mean to feel that you still belong to your alma mater? That you are a part of your alumni association? That you - and others like you - feel accepted? Feel respected? And, feel welcomed? These are just some of the questions that Fresno State and the Fresno State Alumni Association (FSAA) sought to answer, especially with disenfranchised and marginalized alumni - including members of the LGBTQ+ community - and their family members and allies. 

Bronze Award

University of Toronto (Canada) - Expansion of Young Alumni SHAKER Program

  • Launched in 2005 SHAKER is the flagship event series and acquisition tool for U of T's young alumni program and serves as the primary method for the initial engagement of young alumni in the Greater Toronto Area. Over the past few year's SHAKER has undergone a strategic shift and expansion which has significantly increased both the number of events held annually and the number of participants engaged.


Student Alumni Initiatives

17 Entries

Gold Award

Oberlin College (OH) - Oberlin Switchboard May Day Celebration

  • On May 1, 2015, 'May Day', a phrase colloquially uttered in a time of need or desperation, alumni from all generations descended on the students' posts on the Oberlin Switchboard to share resources, advice, and answer questions.

Silver Award

Johns Hopkins University (MD) - Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's Centennial 100 Dinners


  • In celebration of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's (JHSPH) centennial anniversary, the institution developed a 100 Dinners campaign, in which alumni, faculty, staff, and students were invited to host or attend a dinner around the globe. To make this happen, the institution partnered with higher education marketing agency, idfive, to create and execute a communications strategy and develop a website encouraging alumni to partake in one of the 100 Dinners celebrating the centennial. 

Bronze Award

Franklin & Marshall College (PA) - Alumni Leaders of Tomorrow (ALOT) Program


  • Franklin & Marshall College's Alumni Leaders of Tomorrow (ALOT) program provides a unique experience by engaging seniors in a higher level of campus involvement through presentations that demonstrate how seniors can remain engaged with the College after graduation. Through biweekly meetings in an intimate setting, the students learn about the inner workings of the College as well as how to stay involved after graduation.