In a move to keep old and new alumni engaged with their alma mater, the Emory College Alumni Board (ECAB) is stepping up its efforts to give graduating students a reason to remember to remain active in University life.
According to Assistant Director of Development and Alumni Relations Brenda Tran, ECAB is reaching out to students this year by creating the “Tradition” project, which will fund graduation gifts for graduating students. This year, seniors will receive portfolios, but Tran said that gifts could change from year to year. It is the meaning it carries, she said, that is most important.
“Next year, it might not be a portfolio; it could be something else,” Tran said. “But it will have the same message: Please connect as alumni.”
Established in 2006, the ECAB’s mission is to maintain collaboration between alumni, the Dean’s Office and the Arts and Sciences Department in order to garner alumni participation and financial support.
“We have a really diverse group,” Tran said, adding that the board consists of alumni of all ages. “We find ways to not only support but also to interact with students.”
This is the first year ECAB is funding a gift, Tran said. She said the board hopes to continue with the tradition every spring.
Chair of the Special Projects Committee Casey Gendason said he thinks the portfolio will help ECAB to overcome the hurdle of communicating with students and expose new alumni to the services and programs offered.
“There is so much emphasis placed on what students are doing after graduation, yet they don’t understand all that is available to alumni, especially what is offered by the College, the University,” Gendason said.
Some of these services include mentoring programs and internships, Tran said. She said that alumni are able to take on leadership roles and bring job and internship opportunities to other students and alumni.
Gendason said that other programs include “Faculty on the Road,” which promotes informal gatherings with faculty who travel outside of the Atlanta area to participate in programs around the nation.
Tran said that ECAB is also looking for financial support for the school and its academic mission. She said that the board is setting the example because nearly 100 percent of ECAB is participating in donations.
She said she hopes ECAB’s efforts will reach out to both students who will be very active as alumni and students who will not remain as engaged. She said that from personal experience, she thinks it is important to at least give graduating students the information they need to make the choice to be involved.
“We can at least say hello and talk about the experience. Whether it was a good one or not we don’t know, but at least we can have that conversation,” Tran said. “The portfolio and insert will give them a connection, something for them to look back to.”
This is the first year the board is funding a graduation gift, but it has been working on other initiatives as well. ECAB has been hosting Meet Emory, which holds meet-and-greets around the nation for newly admitted students.
Tran said this program offers alumni leadership opportunities and the chance to hold an event at their own homes. She said that she thinks Meet Emory provides a meaningful experience for alumni as well as prospective students.
“The board gives its graduates many opportunities,” Tran said. “With those opportunities come responsibilities: the responsibility to stay connected.”
Contact Alice Chen