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Alumni Forum Series Part 1: When should you first make contact with your Alumni – Sue Russell

Home Forums Members Alumni & Community Relations Alumni Forum Series Part 1: When should you first make contact with your Alumni – Sue Russell


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    • #9545
      Sue Russell
      Forum Participant

      After reading this Alumni article, please join the discussion hosted by article author, Sue Russell, Alumni Manager at St Aidan’s Anglican Girls’ School in Brisbane.

      When should you first make contact with your Alumni – a year out, five years out?  Maybe give consideration to making contact before your students actually leave your institution.

      Students need to see involvement in their Institutions as a given, not just a possibility.  There are many ways this can be achieved day-to-day, are alumni welcome and recognised or is it a shock to see a past student in your institution?  This can be accomplished either in person, by social or perhaps print, media or visual displays.

      Encouraging involvement between current and past students can be beneficial to all. Coaching, mentoring, presentations and inter-era sporting events are just a few ways this can be achieved. Having a presence in classroom activities; alumni guest speakers can be invited in for relevant classroom activities.

      Have you considered being involved in teaching history – maybe a local history unit in your primary school or using past students as a history panel (for example: past students who were at School during the 2nd World War) for junior secondary history.

      Is there a “wall of fame” showcasing your past student’s achievements – planting the seed that current students may one day see themselves profiled.  This can be linked to your website and print media also.

      Are your reunions held on site? This has several benefits, reunions held during school hours allow past students to interact with current students, reunions held out of teaching time still bring your alumni back “home”.

      Celebrations including Anzac Day, Founder’s Day, School’s birthdays are always an easy way to include past students as either speakers or simply as guests.

      Establishing social media links to past students with current students is a great way to involve your Alumni. For example; you could have sporting groups with Alumni coaches or special interest groups like chess or debating. This would encourage interaction and mentoring between the eras.

      Do you have inter-era sporting fixtures, for example ‘The class of 2013 netball team v the first 7s? An opportunity for fun and engagement before, during and after the event!

      In a school, it is important that you have contact details for your graduating students, their private email, connect with them on LinkedIn and most importantly, their mobile phone number (mobile numbers tend to change less).

      Questions for forum discussion:

      1. How do you reach out to graduates before they exit your institution?

      2. What events have you successfully hosted recently? How do you measure your success?

      About Sue…

      Sue Russell has been working in Alumni Relations and Fundraising for nearly two decades.  In 2008 she decided to focus her efforts on Alumni Relations.
      Sue is currently the Alumni Manager at St Aidan’s Anglican Girls’ School in Brisbane, a Fellow of Educate Plus and Vice-President of the Queensland Chapter.

      Vice President  QLD Chapter 
      Sue Russell F.Edplus

    • #9595
      Julia Glass
      Forum Participant

      Dear Sue,

      Thank you for your article. We meet with Year 12 students in Term 3 of each year, prior to their departure, to offer them a gift from the School and to ask for their phone and email address details so that we can stay in touch. We then organise a Graduation Dinner for the students with their parents, and I mention the alumni program there too.

      One of our Year 12 classes set up a fundraising initiative to give back to the School, so we like to encourage future cohorts to consider doing the same.

      We also have ways for our alumni to keep in touch including LinkedIn and Facebook groups, an alumni section in our printed magazine and on our website, an alumni email newsletter, and reunions and events.

      We held an Alumni Breakfast Panel event recently, where three alumni spoke to senior students about their experiences during and after the HSC (leaving certificate).

      I like your idea of a “wall of fame”, this sounds great. Looking forward to hearing other ideas from the Educate Plus community on this topic.

      Best wishes,

      Julia Glass
      Director of Advancement
      International Grammar School

    • #9645
      Sue Russell
      Forum Participant

      Hi Julia

      Great to hear all your work with current students. It certainly makes a difference to get involved early. I also find it one of the joys of my job to engage with the current students.

      There is nothing like the excitment of teaching School history to the year 2 class. These students then not only learn about your history, share the history with their family and acknowldge the Alumni Office staff around the school.

      I will at the International Conference in Auckland and look forward to catching up with other attendees. Hopefully we will meet there.



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