Winter doldrums. The blahs. The blues. Let's face it: The weather around here right now does not make me feel very inspired or energetic. In fact, the endless days of snow, cold and gray skies are enough to make a person want to either hibernate like a bear for the rest of the winter or permanently relocate to Bora Bora (I can see the smiles of the year-round temperate climate residing alumni now).
Certainly, neither option is implausible given our ability to stay connected to the world. Many of us could pretty much work from anywhere these days. As long as there was a network connection, my work would continue without interruption.
We now have more ways than ever to help alumni stay connected to SCS--all of which can serve as a distraction to what's going on outside.
In today's social media space, we can communicate with the SCS community using tools like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr and iTunes. At their convenience, alumni learn about the latest research and educational developments, learn about on-campus and regional alumni events, and connect with fellow alumni.
The benefits of incorporating these tools into our alumni relations outreach are innumerable. We are able to reach out to the community and share information not only in a timelier manner, but often as it's happening. In turn, we can receive instant feedback and comments from the community on posted news stories for example.
Social media tools allow us to reach a broader audience--people we might not be reaching through the traditional methods like email. It also helps foster a greater sense of community among alumni and between alumni and the university.
The opportunities to connect and hear from the SCS community in the virtual world are not only essential, but are a valuable part of our outreach strategies. However, while social media tools are playing a more pivotal role in our goal of increasing alumni engagement, I also still recognize the importance of meeting people face-to-face.
A good portion of my time is spent traveling and meeting with alumni, either one on one or during events. After nearly 11 years, I can say without a doubt that the face-to-face time I spend with alumni is the most rewarding. I've had many alumni tell me, "Oh, you're the one that sends all those emails. It's nice to put a face with a name." I feel the same.
Taking the time to sit down with alumni allows me to get to know them on a friendly level and creates a personal connection. It's a chance for me to learn more about their personal and professional interests and how their interests might be enhanced by volunteer activities. These symbiotic connections are crucial in building meaningful and long-lasting relationships with our alumni.
The more we learn about our individual alumni, the better we are able to develop programs and activities that will fit the needs and interests of the whole community.
Ultimately, we hope by providing alumni more opportunities to hear about the great things happening around the school, you will stay connected and become engaged by our unique opportunities. Using social media outlets and having an open dialogue with our alumni community are keys to building a vibrant, active alumni community.
So if you haven't already, check out the latest on Facebook (SCSatCMU or CarnegieMellonU), follow us on Twitter (@SCSatCMU), or watch a lecture via iTunesU.
Then join us at one of the many upcoming alumni events, like Network Night D.C. or Boston. (You can see our complete calendar at www.cmu.edu/alumni.)
Also, Spring Carnival and Reunion Weekend (April 14-16) are just around the corner! There will be a special joint SCS and ECE alumni reception as well as numerous campus-wide activities including reunions, mobot races, buggy, midway, lectures, concerts and more. We look forward to welcoming everyone back to campus.
Hope to see and hear from you.
Jason Togyer | 412-268-8721 | jt3y [atsymbol] cs.cmu.edu