NOON–1:00 PM Conference Registration Welcome to Chicago! Stop by the registration desk between 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm to check in and pick up your conference materials.
1:00–1:30 Conference Welcome and Introductions Join Conference Chair to meet the conference faculty, learn about our conference group, and discuss how to get the most out of your time in Chicago.
1:30–2:30 Homecoming and Reunions Overview: The What and the Why Homecomings and Reunions are hallmarks of alumni relations programs at colleges and universities across the continent, but these programs and events are as diverse, innovative and unique as the institutions that conduct them. During this session, faculty members will collectively define terms for Homecoming, Reunion and Alumni Day programs that will be discussed throughout the conference.
2:45–4:00 Workshop: I Had No Idea! What I Learned about My Program through the SWOT/Intake Analysis In this working session, we will kick off the conference and build a foundation for our work over the next couple of days. Conference participants will share the key learnings and takeaways from the SWOT/Intake Analysis. As a group we will examine ways we can put those learnings into practice.
4:15–5:15 Small Groups Discussions (Select One): What’s next for your Homecoming and Reunions Programs? What are outcomes for each session?
Refreshing/Reviving a Former Program Is parade participation lacking? Or attendance at the 50 year reunion declining? Some of the events that were once standard in the industry are not as successful as they once were. In this session we will focus on finding ways to revive or refresh programs to meet your engagement goals while staying relevant to your audience. Participants will be able to share ideas for leveraging their strengths and utilizing opportunities to bring new life into existing programs.
Launching a Completely New Program At many institutions, Homecoming and Reunions are steeped in tradition. Honoring those traditions is critical, but attracting new audiences sometimes calls for new programming. CU Boulder is constantly innovating its programs to attract new and diverse audiences. At this session we will explore how you can develop and implement new programming targeted to your engagement goals. We will examine the runway for success and what it takes for the new idea to become ingrained in your institution’s programming. Attendees at this session will have the opportunity to share ideas and successes, as well as provide learnings from new programs that didn’t launch as expected.
Strong Tradition, New Challenges Even institutions with a long history of tradition are finding it difficult to relate to changing times and the new interests of alumni. Learn how the University of Southern California remains true to its brand of a strong alumni network while providing opportunities for alumni to connect to one another and the University.
5:30–6:30 Networking Reception Join conference speakers and your colleagues to network and socialize after the first day of the conference. Don't forget your business cards! Wine, beer and hors d’oeuvres will be provided.
6:30 Conference Adjourns for the Day Dinner on your own Would you like to join a group for dinner? Sign-up for small group dine-arounds at the registration desk.
8:00–9:00 AM Breakfast Roundtables by Institution Type or Topic Join your peers for optional small group discussions during breakfast. Discuss what you’ve learned so far, share your biggest challenges, review hot topics and discuss solutions with your peers. Groups will be organized by institution type. A continental breakfast will be provided.
9:00–10:00 Engagement Strategies for New Audience Many of us see the same faces over and over again at our events and activities. While we love our loyal alumni, we all are constantly trying to attract new audiences. How do you successfully bring in key demographic groups such as young alumni, diverse communities and affinity groups? How do you get unengaged alumni to re-engage? How do you utilize volunteers to expand your reach? In this engaging and interactive session, we will share strategies to do just that.
10:00–10:30 Digital Engagement
Digital technology has been a game changer for planning, executing and measuring engagement for reunions and homecomings. This session provides an overview of platforms and strategies used to deepen engagement leading up to, during, and long after the last guest has left your Reunion and or Homecoming events. We will also discuss how digital metrics can help drive programmatic enhancements and assess ROI.
10:45–11:45 Working with Stakeholders
All reunions and homecomings have one thing in common...lots of stakeholders. No program on this scale can be executed without colleagues, volunteers and vendors from across your institution. Often, it is stakeholders outside your department who are the real heroes. This session looks at how to identify, cultivate and collaborate with both internal and external stakeholders to make your programs exceed expectations.
11:45 AM–1:15 PM Lunch Lunch on your own
1:15–2:30 Dream Big: Top Five Design Challenge If money, time or resources were of no concern, what would you do to overcome current industry challenges and enhance your program? Participants will break into groups to dream big, share their wild ideas and work collaboratively to develop a “Top Five” list of strategies to address a common real-world issue that institutions are facing today in their Homecoming and Reunions programs. Each group will share their best ideas, and all will be collected and distributed after the conference. Be sure to bring your A-game because the most innovative and creative ideas will be rewarded.
2:30–3:30 Elective Sessions (choose one):
Leading and Inspiring High-Performing Teams Transforming ideas into action for large scale programs like Homecoming and Reunions requires motivating and inspiring your team. In this session we will focus on establishing a vision, gaining buy-in, and achieving results.
Incorporating Philanthropy into Homecoming & Reunions Our institutions invest significant resources in programs like homecoming and reunions. In doing so, there is an inherent understanding that one measure of success will be how alumni relations and events teams keep a mind’s eye of the potential benefits for development colleagues and fundraising volunteers. This session looks at both easy wins for everyone and how to collaborate with development and communications colleagues in sustained and mutually beneficial ways.
Selling Your New Idea Hopefully, you have already garnered several new ideas that you can take back to your institution to fortify your programs. So how do you ensure these ideas get approval and support, including staff resources and budget? Well, you have to sell it. And the bigger the idea, the more elaborate the pitch.
3:45–4:45 Unlocking Your Own Creativity and Coloring Outside the Lines
4:45–5:00 Day 2 Recap and Questions
5:00 Conference Adjourns for the Day Dinner on your own Would you like to join a group for dinner? Sign-up for small group dine-arounds at the registration desk.
8:00–9:00 AM Breakfast Roundtables by Topic Join optional roundtable groups to discuss hot topics with your peers. Groups will be organized by topic. A continental breakfast will be provided.
9:00–10:00 Working with Volunteers: From Recruiting to Collaborating to Recognizing Need highly engaged alumni? No better way to increase engagement than by getting your alumni to volunteer with you. Whether it be a one-and-done event or reading scholarships or serving on a board, volunteering for your alma mater is a rewarding and fulfilling engagement opportunity. Join this session to learn strategies to ensure your volunteers are well suited and trained for the opportunity, feel properly utilized during their service and, importantly, learn how to recognize their efforts to keep them coming back again and again.
10:15–11:15 Now What? Setting Up Your Programs for Success and Bringing It All Together Over the course of this conference, you may have been sparked by several ideas that you want to implement but you’re not quite sure of how to get started, if the ideas will be accepted, or if they really even fit within your institution’s program. In this final working session, we will walk through the process of determining how to take the best ideas you heard and or created, align them with your institution’s goals and turn them into immediate (or gradual) courses of action.
11:15 AM–NOON Closing Faculty Q&A Speakers: All Faculty Let's wrap up our time together with final Q and A. If you have burning questions - now is the time to ask them!