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Engaging Alumni with Their Own Stories

An institution's decision to feature monthly online profiles of its graduates has led to greater alumni engagement and social media activity.

The Chinese University of Hong Kong, a university founded in 1963 and whose alumni population is approaching 200,000, features monthly profiles of its alumni on the university website.

The Roll Call Alum project has featured 25 CUHK graduates since it launched in September 2015. At the beginning of every academic year, Daniel Cheng, director of alumni affairs of CUHK, reviews a list of 12 potential interviewees for the coming year.

"Many of our alumni are making seminal contributions in various sectors. They make good things happen not just for themselves but for society," said Cheng.

Following CUHK's theme of "Making Things Happen," the profiles spotlight innovators; 44 percent of the interviewees have been entrepreneurs in fields from design to digital marketing to architecture to alternative energy. Nearly one-fourth of the profiled alumni have started charitable ventures benefiting the public good.

These profiles reach tens of thousands of readers each month and generate substantial social media engagement, said Cheng, adding that many interviewees share their own stories with enthusiasm.

"The success of the articles has demonstrated that...well-written stories are still very much appreciated and chased," said Tommy Cho, director of information services at CUHK.

Some stories are as much about the personal struggles and triumphs of alumni as about cutting-edge industry ideas in which they work, Cho added.

This article is from the July 2017 BriefCASE issue of BriefCASE.