Kids on Campus
Every summer, the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México welcomes a new class of students to campus: 5- to 12-year-olds ready to explore science, robotics, art, and more.
Since 2013, the Mexico City university has held summer camps for the children of its alumni. Families can sign children up for five-day workshops taught by staff from partner organizations, like Canada’s Mad Science and Mexico’s National Chess School. The classes are a fun, high-quality service that alumni are looking for, says Jessica Hernandez Magallanes, head of ITAM’s career center.
“Our alumni are a predominantly young community; 55% of our graduates today have children between the ages of 5 and 16. For us, it is important to think beyond our alumni themselves and consider their families as well,” she says. “We want to give alumni an opportunity to share with their children the experience of being at ITAM.”
More than 400 families have participated in the program, and interest has grown steadily: In 2013, ITAM offered three science classes and by 2018, it added another science course, three art classes, and one robotics class. Two-thirds of participants re-enroll the next year, says Magallanes, and the program was a 2019 finalist for CASE’s Platinum Award for Best Practices in Alumni Relations.
ITAM handles the logistics (registration, facilities) while partner organizations, like Mad Science or the Mexican nonprofit Poupée design and deliver the curriculum—which is key to launching a program like this, says Magallanes.
You need “strategic allies to teach, train the staff that will support activities, and provide an environment of safety and professionalism with the parents,” she says.
The 2020 and 2021 classes have been virtual, but ITAM may do a hybrid online and face-to-face model next year—that way, families outside Mexico City who participated during the pandemic can stay involved, says Magallanes.
About the author(s)
Meredith Barnett is the manager, digital communications at CASE.